CrimeIf you are, or have been, a part of the internet sub-culture that includes websites such as Reddit and 4chan, or, perhaps you have watched the latest Batman movie, whatever the case may be, then you understand the dangers of sensitive information stored on computers falling into the wrong hands.

The problem with some of the above examples, of course, is that third-party sources and poorly written Hollywood screenplays often give the illusion that people with the skills and malicious intent to infiltrate computer security systems are a product of internet folklore, or Hollywood embellishment for dramatic effect, and not actually a genuine threat. This often leads many small business owners to discredit the idea that they are at risk of an attack, but that could not be further from the truth.

Cyber crime is a reality, and every day that your information goes unprotected is a day that someone, somewhere, could be taking advantage of you, and by extension, your company, without you ever knowing. When it comes to properly investing in internet security, the primary deterrent for many small business owners is often the price of reputable security systems (such as Bitdefender, SymantecMcAfee and others), especially when they have many devices to secure. This, coupled with many people simply discrediting the fact-of-the-matter about cyber criminals (outlined above), makes them easy, unsuspecting targets.

Is not investing in internet security worth the risk?

A recent cyber security analysis discovered that small and medium sized businesses lose an average of $188,242 when a security breach happens, so don’t assume this will happen to someone else. That same Symantec/NCSA report showed that these cyber-attacks forced roughly two-thirds of these small companies out of business within six months. Probably most disturbing is that roughly 80% of the cyber-crimes were completely preventable. – Business Insider

While it is near impossible to estimate exactly how much businesses suffer financially at the hands of cyber criminals, it is clear that the results of an unsuspected attack are often devastating.

Don’t allow a false sense of security to place you at the mercy of a cyber criminal.

In his article “Cyber Security a Growing Issue for Small Business,” @Jason Fell explains some steps that you can take to ensure the safety of your business’s most sensitive information.

His suggestions include the following:

  1. Create a written security policy for employees.
  2. Use stronger passwords.
  3. Encrypt your data.

For more on the above, see the articles listed below which outline a few tips and tricks for how to best protect your small business’s sensitive information:

Have any additional suggestions on how to secure your business against cyber crime? Post them in the comments below!

[cc photo credit to Alan Cleaver via Flickr]

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