The newsLINK Group - Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber Breaches

Editorial Library Category: General Business Topics: Cyber Breaches Title: Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber Breaches Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Crime apparently pays better than you might think, even when the target is relatively small. According to the 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, which was conducted by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), the average cost for a small business when it undergoes an attack from cyberspace is $8,699.48. Editorial: Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber Breaches 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Crime apparently pays better than you might think, even when the target is relatively small. According to the 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, which was conducted by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), the average cost for a small business when it undergoes an attack from cyberspace is $8,699.48. Some 44 percent of small businesses report attacks that involved interruptions to service, false information sent from the small business domain or email system, and websites that were temporarily prevented from functioning. This is not comforting information, especially if you have been hoping that the size of your small business would be a protection. It isn’t. In fact, according to a senior analyst at Verizon named Kevin Thompson, this is a trend that has been going on for six years. The fact is that small businesses currently are more likely to be attacked than large businesses. Verizon released a data breach investigations report in April 2013 showing that out of 621 incidents that involved a data breach, half were at organizations that employed fewer than 1,000 people. In 193 cases, the organizations had fewer than 100 people. Symantec issued a separate report that confirmed the shift. In 2012, 31 percent of all attacks were at organizations with fewer than 250 employees. The percentage for the previous year was 18 percent. Why the increased focus? Criminals search for small businesses because they represent easy prey, and because they might offer a pathway into the network for a larger business. A large business often has the resources, and the staff, to protect itself from a direct attack where something smaller does not. Large corporations in particular have begun investing in security strategies that are simply out of reach financially for smaller organizations. So criminals have turned to more realistic targets. Hackers can potentially get cash, credit-card information, and even intellectual property from small organizations that don’t realize how rewarding a target they are. How does a small business provide a potential pathway? For a business that is positioned within a growth industry, such as manufacturing or health care, chances are good that it might be acquired by a larger organization. If the cybercriminal is patient, a year or two of waiting can translate into the kind of access that might make a date breach possible later, with correspondingly bigger pockets to be robbed. Attacks can take different forms, but some of the most popular ones involve remotely locking computers and demanding a ransom fee, and malicious software that is designed to attack mobile devices used by employees or to infiltrate a website and then, in turn, gain access to the database for a larger organization. Just because your business might be targeted by criminals doesn’t mean you have to cooperate. It’s possible to protect yourself surprisingly well just by being proactive in a few key areas: Set up firewalls for hardware and software Have separate operating systems for financial data than for other company data Use security standards for mobile phones and tablets Implement stricter policies when it comes to passwords Buy the best security tools your organization can afford Firewalls The first line of defense for any organization is the firewall. The firewall simply inspects any data passing in or out of a network. It can consist of software or hardware, but when it is configured correctly it will allow employees to have the access they need, but it will also block malicious programs or users. Operating Systems The most important way to protect your business is to have one operating system for anything financial, and another one

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