We’ve all heard of cyber-attacks on large organizations such as these, “Hackers stole the credit card information of 70 million customers from retail giant Target in 2013 and 56 million from Home Depot in 2014; in 2015 health insurer Anthem announced that cyber thieves swiped 80 million social security numbers from its computers; and online auction site eBay suffered an intrusion involving 145 million user records.” — Fortune Magazine. This graphic clearly shows the extent of the problem, The World’s Biggest Data Breaches and Hacks, but what does that have to do with your small business? Why should you be concerned? And how can you protect your small business from cyber crime?

Because you could be next

Small businesses aren’t immune to cyber-attacks. Hackers no longer only focus on large corporations and government agencies. Chances are someone has already investigated your electronic footprint and if they haven’t you can bet, they will, and soon. Believe me, it’s not farfetched because it happened to my friends at TKO Graphix, TKO Tech Talk: Website Security. Unfortunately, in the small business world, there are a lot of easy pickings for cyber thieves. Don’t be the low hanging fruit.

What can you do?

  1. Back up important documents and information on a weekly basis. Save customer records, financial data, confidential product information, images, and important word docs.
  2. Train your people. Make people aware of possible threats. Teach them what documents NOT to open. As Eric mentioned in the TKO Tech Talk linked above, use strong passwords and change them periodically.
  3. Put your security software to good use. Stay on top of upgrades for security software and operating systems. Limit access to software and be certain firewalls are in place and functioning properly. Set scans to automatically review your site daily as well as encrypt and secure onsite Wi-Fi.

Will that be enough?

Maybe, but if someone really wants in, they’ll find a way. The key is to not make your online presence attractive to hackers by making it easy.

As an example, as we were discussing neighborhood crime, what house do you think a burglar would attempt to rob — the one without a security system or the neighbor with a full system, lights, and sirens? Don’t let your house be easy to break into. Start with the three points above but don’t stop there. The SBA (Small Business Administration) offers a free training seminar SBA Cyber Security Training for Small Business. How do you protect your business from cybercrime and what have you learned?

Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/xIVhD5xI0oQ