Cyber Security and Disaster Recovery
Here's a thought that might worry you. Your small business is probably under attack as you read this. And if it's not being attacked, it's most likely being probed for weakness by some of the many hackers and cyber-criminals out there.
Despite it being big hacks that make the headlines, like the attack on Sony back in 2014 or Ashley Madison last year, the truth is that most cyber attacks are made on small and medium sized businesses. In 2014, 60% of all known hacking targets were SMBs. And why? Because they can be very easy targets for hackers. This is due to the fact that most small business owners simply don’t see themselves as targets. They assume hackers will focus on larger companies and therefore don’t protect themselves adequately. SMBs rarely have sophisticated IT security systems in place - some have none at all.
Data attacks are serious and can threaten your business. A survey carried out by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of companies that have been hacked go out of business within six months of a serious data breach. And even if your business does survive, you can end up taking a big financial hit. The average direct costs on a small business can be up to $38,000, according to Kaspersky Lab. This includes downtime, any lost business opportunities, and the money you pay to professionals to fix the breach. These are scary figures and should make you rethink your security strategy.
So what do we mean when we say cyber crime? Well, it can cover a range of things, but in general, criminals are after the data and information you keep on your network. This could be intellectual property, your customer's credit card numbers, employee's personal data, or details of your company accounts. Companies with highly sensitive customer data, such as insurance, legal, and financial companies have even higher risk. Criminals may also target your company with the aim of getting into the networks of a larger organizations you do business with. Even disgruntled staff members can be a threat to your security!
These types of attack can vary, but most hacks on smaller businesses are the ones that IT experts have warned you about for years - malicious insiders, malware, viruses, worms, trojans and botnets. Your email systems are also at risk from malicious code, phishing and social engineering. Bad luck can be a factor too, with crimes happening due to lost or stolen devices.
Hackers are also growing in number and becoming more and more sophisticated. It was estimated that 12 new pieces of malware were discovered every minute in 2015 so it's little wonder that programmers and companies fighting cyber crime can barely keep up. Most virus detection is signature, i.e it only works against known threats. To be effective, it must be constantly updated.
You can try to insure your company against an attack but the cost of cyber liability insurance is constantly going up since attacks are so frequent and high profile cases keep hitting the headlines. And, deductibles can be very high if you have sensitive data.
With cybercrime on the rise, a whole new career has been. Universities are now offering ‘White Hat’ hacking courses that teach ethical hacking. Such hackers are security specialists who can hack into systems to find vulnerabilities in networks and handle them before a malicious attack.
So what's the best way to protect your business? For starters you should ensure you are at least doing the following:
- Create strong passwords and never use the same one for several devices;
- Protect your computers with security software and ensure it’s up to date;
- Guard your personal information and use high security settings on social media;
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly to check for suspicious activity;
- Log out of any public wifi networks after use;
- Ensure your company's computers have all the latest patches and updates installed;
- Layer your protection, use firewalls, anti-virus, and encryption and data-loss protection tools;
- Ensure your company backups are secure and performed daily.
Some prevention can be done by yourself, but for optimal protection it’s best to contact an expert. Jose Noriega at Gradient Data Solutions says, “Hackers and malware makers aren't going to go away, and the threats we face as business owners are only going to get worse. So make sure you're carrying out the very basic tasks to keep your company safe and if you want to know how at risk your systems are, it's well worth carrying out a security assessment to find weak spots in your business networks."
Gradient Data Solutions is offering a risk free security assessment for any company that is worried about hackers and malware. It's FREE and you're under no obligation. Call our team and book your assessment today. 305-383-7096