National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Protect Your Business and Your Customers from a Data Breach

It’s estimated that the global cost of cybercrime for 2017 was $600 billion and is projected to increase in coming years as cybercriminals look for more ways to exploit and mine business and personal data. This data can be anything from personal photos and social media interactions to work-related files and communication, and often contains private information hackers can leverage. Data is intangible so we often forget about it, but in this digital age it’s the most vital things we possess, especially in business.

Protecting against cybercrime is something that you cannot afford to ignore in today’s business world. According to Kapersky Lab, for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the average cost to recover from a data breach is $117,000. It’s no wonder that 60% of SMBs go out of business once they become victim to cybercrime.

No one wants to lay awake at night worrying about their data, cyber-attacks and the potential of losing their business. So, what’s the solution? The short answer lies in cyber security and taking steps to avoid being a victim to hackers and cybercrime.

Here are three key elements of cyber security your business should have:

Protect Your Data

We’ve all heard the saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” This is very applicable when it comes to your data. When you protect your data, you’re protecting all critical information about your business, your employees and customers. All logins, emails, and customer files are at risk when you fail to protect your data. By protecting your data, your business will always be up and running and your company’s reputation well preserved.

Protecting your data is more than just antivirus software. While antivirus is a crucial part of IT cyber security, it’s not enough. You need ongoing security management so you can be sure your business will be protected with multiple layers of security. Identifying the right solution for your business is crucial. When in doubt, consult with an IT professional.

Training

The unfortunate truth is that the biggest vulnerability for organizations is people because. After all, at least one employee will click on anything. Data protection avoids many threats that you can’t see, but the most nefarious and crippling attacks come about simply because people aren’t careful. Whether it’s clicking an attachment from an unknown email, clicking on an ad in a questionable website, or not reviewing the email address on an email from your “boss” that may not look quite right and following through with her request to wire thousands of dollars to an unknown bank account overseas, these things can be avoided by stopping and thinking first.

When companies train their employees on proper web usage, phishing scams, email protocol, and the social engineering tactics used by hackers, they can avoid the biggest threats. In just our region, we’ve seen dozens of attempts in just the past 90 days, both successful and unsuccessful, that could have been thwarted by stopping, picking up a phone and calling someone to verify if an email is legit. The more you talk about cybersecurity and create policies that everyone knows and uses, the less likely you are to fall victim.

Backup, backup, backup!

Even with all the layers of security and training hours, things can slip through. A company is hit by ransomware every 40 seconds and their data and their business is held hostage until they pay a ransom to get the data back. But you don’t need to pay if you have proper backup and disaster recovery in place. When you’re backed up, a cyber-attack will cause some disruption, but your data remains uncompromised. A good backup system allows you to continue running while your IT provider works behind the scenes to eliminate threats and get you back up to 100%.

One of the best places to back-up your data is the cloud. When you store data in a cloud system it typically stores at least three copies of each piece of data, all in different locations. This means if one copy fails, there will be two other backups. The cloud also requires various login credentials and all of the servers are located in physically secure data centers, adding an extra layer of security. The best option is multiple backups – physically on site as well as in the cloud for redundancy.

Cyber security is not going to become any less important in the coming years, especially as we become more dependent upon technology. By taking preemptive steps now you can protect yourself and your customers and keep your business in business.