These days it seems like no one is safe from a cyber attack. Small businesses, however, are especially vulnerable because of their value and the fact that they’re easy to infiltrate. Larger companies tend to have better measures in place to prevent attacks. Individuals have less worth to steal. Smaller businesses are just right, to paraphrase Goldilocks. And when they’re hit, they’re hit hard.
According to the Ponemon Institute, an independent research institution that conducts studies on privacy, data protection and information security policies, the cost for small businesses to clean up after they’ve been hacked averages $690,000. Even worse, statistics show that 60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.
So, what can you do to protect your business?
First, let’s look at a few facts.
- According to IBM, small and mid-sized businesses account for 62 percent of all cyber attacks. That’s roughly 4,000 per day.
- Most cyber breaches happen because an employee does something that they shouldn’t be doing.
- The estimated annual cost for cybercrime committed globally is a whopping 100 billion dollars.
All businesses should have a plan in place in the event of a cyber attack. The worst mistake you can make is waiting until an attack happens to think about your security. Communicating with employees is also key. Business owners must have data security protocols, as well as policies and procedures in place that every employee takes seriously. In addition, having the latest security software, web browser and operating systems provide the greatest barricades against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Encrypting data is a wonderful way to protect your most private information. Encryption is a process where data is converted and becomes garbled and therefore unreadable to anyone without access to a key or password.
If an attack should happen, you’ll also want to contact local and national authorities as soon as you can. Calling the local police as well as the Federal Trade Commission is a very important step. If you have access to an IT department, contact them immediately. The sooner they can investigate and clean your computer, the less damage to your computer and other computers on the network. If your company doesn’t have a reliable IT service, now is a great time to find one. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When looking into which IT company to go with, you’ll want to make sure that the company is reliable and can handle the needs of your unique business. Not every IT company is created equal.
Here are a few important questions to ask yourself.
Does the IT company provide…?
- Patch Management
- Proactive Alerting
- Virus Protection
- 24/7 System Monitoring and Resolution
- Proactive Alerting with Remediation
- Unlimited In-Shop Repair
- Data Backup and Recovery
- Unlimited Help Desk Support
- Routine Site Visits to Check Physical Devices
- Short-term Loaner Workstations
- Application Deployment
- Firewall Monitoring
- Unlimited On-Site Consulting and Support
These are services that you’ll want for your small to mid-sized business. Choosing a company that’s been in business for a while is also a good idea. Look for one that’s been around for at least ten years. The longer the better. Proven companies know their stuff because they’ve seen it all before. Look at what other people are saying. References from current clients are invaluable.
Hopefully, a cyber attack will never happen to you, but hoping won’t stop one from happening. Knowledge is vital. You did your homework when you decided to start your business. Now, be sure to do your homework by protecting your IT assets.