Why small businesses are targeted: 

The ease of accessing all your company’s data with a single swipe of a finger on your smart phone may not be worth the risk. While the simple password of “Pa55word” or your company’s name may seem like the best and easiest way to help your employees have acccess to company data, it’s becoming increasingly risky. With all the ways to access data – cloud datacenters, mobile devices, and web-based applications – hackers have more opportunities than ever before to gain access into your small business’s private information.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 4.35.01 PMIn a recent article on cyber security, Chris Collins, chairman of the House’s Subcommittee on Health and Technology said, “Small businesses generally have fewer resources available to monitor and combat cyber threats, making them easy targets for expert criminals.”

Steps on how to increase cyber security:

There are a few easy steps you can take to ensure a greater amount of safety for your small business. While this one may be obvious, it is also the most important: Create a stronger password. This is something that could quickly save you from junior cyber thieves, it won’t stop professionals. You can also encrypt your data. Disk encryption tools come standard on most operating systems, including BitLocker for Windows PCs and FileVault for Macs. These programs convert the data into unreadable code that is not easily deciphered by hackers.

If you’re moving your data to the cloud, ask to know about the security systems the company that will house your data has in place so that you know how well your data will be protected.

According to a 2012 nationwide study of small businesses by digital security firm Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance:

  • 83 percent of small businesses have no formal cyber security plan, while 69 percent lack even an informal one
  • Cyber attacks cost small and medium-size businesses an average of $188,242, and almost two-thirds of victimized companies are forced out of business within six months of being attacked
  • It’s important to ask who at the cloud company will have access to your data in the cloud and whether the cloud provider does employee background checks to weed out potential cybercriminals or identity thieves

Another big issue now includes securing mobile devices. Stolen or lost company-owned mobile equipment should be reported immediately to your tech support person or IT staff so that service can be shut off. Also, as an added precaution, administrative login information should be given only to the CEO, CIO and trusted IT staff.

“Last year, companies with one to 250 employees were the victims of more than 30 percent of all cyber attacks, according to Symantec’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report,” according to a recent article on cyber criminals and small  business. A simple yet helpful prevention method is to ensure that employees do not open or reply to an email that seems suspicious, and after opening emails, don’t click on suspicious links and attachments. Clicking on these could lead to malicious software infiltrating your system.

Take a few minutes and put your business’s private data out of harm’s way and back into secure hands.

[cc photo credit to Clearly Too Much and talksrealfast]