Data Security and Your Small Business: What You Need To Know

It is easy to fall into the mistaken idea that you already possess enough safeguards in place to protect your small business. You almost certainly stay current with the latest antivirus software, but is that enough

It is easy to fall into the mistaken idea that you already possess enough safeguards in place to protect your small business. You almost certainly stay current with the latest antivirus software, but is that enough? You also probably feel that since you’re not a huge corporation, you don’t have to worry about cyber criminals hacking into your system. But here’s the unfortunate reality: cyber criminals have upped their game and are starting to target small businesses increasingly more. Let’s take a closer look to  give you a better understanding of the level of danger your business may be under.

Small firms: low-hanging fruit

The facts are, hackers have found that small businesses are easier targets, and are increasingly preying upon them. They are able to infiltrate their systems at a much faster rate, and with a better percentage of success as well. This means a cyber criminal can assault multiple targets in the time it would take them to lay siege to a better-guarded system with a higher level of data security. How can it be worth their while to steal from a mom and pop operation? In the present modern world, virtually every business employs digital payment processing methods. When your customers pay using a credit card, this data must run through your system to be verified. This represents a goldmine of data for hackers, as they can lift this information without being discovered. With your customers’ credit card numbers, addresses and names, they are able to make bogus charges on their accounts.

How hackers gain access to your data

How can they get this delicate data? Though you might be protected by software designed to firewall your systems, hackers still have several points of entry. Email attachments are a major offender, and openingjust one piece of malware can leave you exposed. Believe it or not, in the first quarter of this year alone, industry experts have found over six million unique malware programs. Attackers don’t have to be sophisticated to be harmful: when trying to breach your data security, some hackers have a low-tech strategy instead. They could contact your employees directly, and posing as a network administrator, ask for their password to boost security. This is known as “phishing.” While you may believe your employees know better than to be seduced by such an evident tact, it takes merely one lapse in judgment to leave your systems open to attack.

The buck stops with you

If you feel that maintaining data security is not vital, consider that should your systems be breached, your clients will likely hold you personally responsible for any stolen information or property. These kind of events cost companies thousands of dollars each year and can damage a company’s name so badly  that they have to close their doors permanently.

An ounce of prevention…

Taking extra precautions when it comes to your business’ data security is a very wise move. Continue to update your programs and passwords on a regular basis. Teach your employees good security practices like setting up strong passwords and instructing them to never give out login information or open suspicious emails. Hiring an outside consultant is another great way to ensure your clients’ information. These measures not only give you peace of mind, they tell your clients that you care about keeping them safe.

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