There’s a long list of improvements that technology has delivered, but a major downside is cybercrime. The theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported type of criminal fraud. Surprisingly, the theft of digital information has actually surpassed physical theft. When Sony was recently hacked they stole 100TB of data – everything they could find – emails, movies, passwords, & payroll information.
Cybercrime: A Big Danger for Small Businesses
While financial institutions and large companies have been strengthening their networks against attacks, cybercriminals have begun targeting less well-defended small businesses. Small businesses are attacked everyday, it just doesn’t make the news like a massive data breach at Sony or Target. If you aren’t convinced that it’s a major problem, the following information based on a 2013 survey conducted by the US National Small Business Association:
- 44% of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks. The average cyber attack costs a small business $8,700.
- Business must often pay to notify customers of a data breach and also pay for credit monitoring for customers with compromised information. Companies are potentially liable for damages in lawsuits brought by customers with compromised information.
Protect Your Clients and Your Business
Computer Troubleshooters offers the following recommendations to increase the security of your network and to safeguard your clients’ valuable personal and financial information:
- Cybersecurity Awareness: Awareness, education and training is actually the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business and clients from cybercrime. Establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for employees that requires the use of passwords; guidelines for handling
- Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: You must password protect access to the router on your network. A common misconception is that simply having a router on your network will provide the protection you need. Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.
- Authentication and Passwords: Each employee must have unique passwords. Changing passwords every three months is recommended. Multi-factor authentication adds greater protection because it requires additional information to gain entry. When working with vendors that are handling your sensitive financial information, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to work with a different vendor.
- Clean Machines: Always use the latest operating system, security software and web browser. These will provide the best protection against online threats including viruses and malware. Block spam with a reliable spam filter, plus your e-mail will be easier to manage.
- Secure Transactions: Protect client financial information from theft during online transactions by using encryption software. Encryption software also protects your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Isolate payment systems from each other and don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.
- Control Business and Client Information: Know exactly how and where critical information is stored, how it is used and how it is protected. Administrative privileges are only for key personnel. Limit employee access to data and always use strong and individualized passwords. Also, control physical access to computers. Lock laptop equipment when not in use. Use a reliable backup system that is at compliant with your industry.
- Firewall: Consider using a reliable software firewall that prevents outsiders from accessing data on your private network. If your employees work from home, be sure that their home system is also firewall protected.
Mobile Devices: Require users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.
Play It Safe!
You have worked hard to establish your business. Success in any business is largely built on a reputation based on the trust and support of loyal clients and customers. Don’t gamble with this hard-earned loyalty by putting your clients’ security at risk. Safeguard your business against cybercrime by taking the necessary steps to ensure the security of your clients’ sensitive information.
Computer Troubleshooters can help you fight cybercrime by strengthening your business’ network with a variety of security products and solutions to cover all areas that are potentially at risk in your business. Computer Troubleshooters can also help you to establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for your business. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our technology professionals will be happy to help you.