data_security.jpgWhen it comes to running your small business, you are handling a myriad responsibilities to ensure the day-to-day operations are managed. Sales forecasting, maintenance, IT support and marketing all fall under the title of small business owner or entrepreneur. So, it can be challenging to best protect your small business from cyber attacks and data breaches especially when companies like Equifax or Target, that should be tough for criminals to breach, are in the news for just that.

As more and more business owners hear about the threat of cyber attacks, business sustainability plans are being modified to include scenarios like surviving a data breach, but many small business owners still are not taking this threat seriously. According to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey conducted in April of 2017, only 2 percent of small business owners view the threat of a cyber attack as the most critical issue they face. So while large corporations are spending millions of dollars on cybersecurity, small businesses are often not spending enough to protect themselves. And when it comes to simple password protection, 82 percent of millennials and 70 percent of baby boomers reuse passwords on websites and apps, according to recent findings from a conducted study.

The importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated, as attacks are an ever-growing threat to all businesses, large and small, alike.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?

When it comes to your security, you should be constantly trying to come up with fundamental safeguards that can be implemented to help buffer outside threats. In an effort to help mitigate risk to you, the small business owner, we implement several best practices to help keep your information secure. Those of which include frequent software updates, backing up data and increased default security settings.

Year after year, cyber security experts continue to repeat how critical it is to keep your software updated. With the rise of malware and zero-day exploits, it is good to reiterate this best practice when it comes to keeping updated with software patches and system updates. The malware typically targets well-known security vulnerabilities, so updates help decrease this possibility.

When it comes to ransomware – the malicious software designed to encrypt all your data and block access to it until you pay fee – it is best to have a full, current backup among several people in order to avoid inside threats.

Increasing default security settings like mandating more complex passwords and changing of the password every 90 days are great practices to implement that will go a long way in building a strong security foundation to protect your business. This will also help raise employee awareness to take a proactive approach to becoming educated about cyber threats and how it can affect your overall bottom line.

FLIP THE STATISTICS

It is estimated that cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 tillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion just one year ago. Because cybertheft is one of the fastest growing types of crime in the United States, simply continuing to ignore the stats will more than likely leave you vulnerable to breach or sabotage.

A breach means accessing personal data, intellectual property, trade secrets and information relating to bids. Also targeted in breach is any type of pricing information. Sabotage takes the form of denial of service, flooding web services with bogus messages and other means of disabling systems and infrastructure. All of these scenarios can mean a significant impact in your ability to operate in daily business and typically are associated with a hefty cost to restore systems to standard operating status.

Making a concerted effort to report cyber crime incidents, since many go unreported, will help in the documentation and increased awareness of the tactics criminals are implementing to target individuals and businesses. This will help us drive down the damages caused by cybercrime, but it is only through collaboration that we will be able to help truly reduce the risk of cyber threats.