It no longer surprises us to see it in the headlines. Which big company has been breached now? How many millions of dollars are projected in loss, and how many hundreds of thousands of people have been affected? It’s scary to think of cybercriminals out there relentlessly searching for the next victim, and maybe that’s why we fool ourselves into thinking that cybercrime is something that only affects the other guy’s company.
The stark truth is that small businesses have become an easy target for hackers, and we absolutely must own up to the need to protect ourselves. The threat is not going to go away - it's only going to increase - and denial doesn’t make it someone else’s problem… but here’s a short list of what we can do:
- Recognize the threat, the first step towards protection
Hackers count on our naivety. Perhaps it’s too harsh to say that we don’t care about our data security and are too lazy to do the homework, but does it matter why we haven’t done it yet? We are all busy, but no matter the excuses, time must be made to analyze our company's security measures.
- Buckle down on our employees (& ourselves!)
We know our passwords are lousy and haven’t been changed for two years and are saved in an unsecured spreadsheet on our desktop or smartphone and…what are we waiting for? We need to make the changes now and educate our employees. Use unique, strong passwords and change them every three months, establish appropriate Internet use guidelines, and have specific rules of behavior to protect customer information and other vital data that we handle.
- Protect our networks from attacks
Note the recommendation from the FCC. “Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.”
- Use deception technology to go on the offensive and go after the attackers
Just as there are new cyberthreats all of the time, security experts are continuously working diligently to keep ahead of the threats and protect our networks. Deception technology was created as an offensive tool to catch the criminal in the act. This weapon alerts you 24/7 to any unauthorized activity and strips the cybercriminal of one of his best defenses, invisibility.
Keeping your network up to date and secure means you have to put forth the effort to be vigilant. The best news for small businesses is that this is a good time to face cybersecurity risks. We have better resources available now to keep our businesses secure. We just need to ally ourselves in the fight!