Just listen to our Web Services Division’s most recent podcast, and you’ll get a good understanding of just how big a threat hackers are becoming. In short, unless you are taking measured precautions, you are going to get hit. I don’t mean to sound so fatalist, but cyber-crime is no longer “someone else’s” problem.
Consider for a moment that 60% of small businesses hit by hackers are out of business in less than a year. This does not mean we should panic. Rather, it is time to prepare.
It would certainly be safe to say that number of businesses affected by cyber-crime would be reduced exponentially IF they would follow these 5 steps:
Bolster your defense – You absolutely must have a good, current firewall and antivirus technology. You must. Moreover, it is also important to regularly update your software and plug-ins. Current software versions are typically less susceptible to cybercriminal antics. Not to mention, your system will work more smoothly, anyway.
Cover your you know what – Many of the companies we mentioned above go under because they are sued by customers/site visitors/clients who are victimized by the hacker who initially came upon their information when the business was penetrated. Is your business insured for cyber-crime? Time to call a pro. Your business’ future could depend upon it.
BYOD and Wi-Fi policy – The trend for BYOD (bring your own device) and the need for Wi-Fi in the office isn’t going away. In fact, this trend is gaining more ground by the minute. That being said, now that we know more about the potential pitfalls, it’s a good idea to establish some policy and procedure to keep your business, your employees, and your customers, cyber-safe. Talk to your IT Director, or an industry expert for the most critical. But for a jumping-off point – stay away from accessing company docs from public Wi-Fi. And, never even think about a public network when retrieving proprietary business or client information. Think “credit card” numbers.
Worst case scenario plan – Sometimes the NFL’s best defense allows a game winning score in the 4th quarter. Just because these cyber-criminals are “bad guys” doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. Say you safeguard, follow all the rules, and get hacked anyway? Then what? In that case, it is best to have your procedure well outlined, rehearsed, and ready to be implemented at any minute. Life happens, but good things tend to happen to those who handle crisis with clarity and precision.
Make it a priority – While we would love you to, sharing this article with your staff is not going to protect you completely. You must implement and in order to do so, you must train your staff. It is imperative that your staff understands how important and how precious and delicate your data is. It should be treated with the utmost care. Let your staff take ownership, accountability, and become a fully engaged part of the process.