According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, one in five small businesses is the victim of a cyber crime every year.
Even more frightening, PCWorld reported that of those companies whose systems were breached, 60% went out of business within the next six months.
Last weekend, I spent my Saturday afternoon at the Don’t Spy On Us day of action, learning about data privacy and security. And it got me thinking—there are a lot of small business owners out there who are leaving themselves open to cyber crime because they don’t know how to protect themselves.
In an effort to help out all of the small business owners out there who are in this boat, we’ll be writing a series of blog posts about protecting your small business’s data. We’ll explain some basic security concepts, give advice, and recommend some apps and services. And by the end of the series, you’ll have a much better idea of how to keep your data safe.
Should I be worried about my small business’s data?
This is an understandably common question. Sure, there’s a lot of talk out there about data privacy and online security, but is it really something that you need to worry about?
The answer, in short, is yes. You might not feel like this is a serious threat because you’re a small business, and not a large one like Target, Neiman Marcus, Sony, or Lockheed (all of which have suffered cyber attacks within recent memory), but think of how much it would hurt your company if one of your regular customer’s credit card information was stolen while they were trying to pay you.
Do you want to be the one to tell your customers that their information has been stolen? Isn’t that something worth protecting yourself against?
Do hackers really target small businesses?
Yes, they do, for a number of reasons. You might think that you’re too small to be noticed, but small businesses are an appealing target for hackers.
Don’t believe it? Here are 5 small businesses who have suffered from cyber attacks.
A BBC article on the issue stated that many small business can serve as backdoors into larger businesses, and prove to be easier targets. Unfortunately, a large proportion of small businesses don’t protect their computers or their mobiles properly, and that makes it significantly easier for a hacker to gain access to their data.
Hackers can steal payment and customer information from dozens of small businesses in a short period of time, making this an appealing strategy—add that to lax security, and your small business could be a target.
What can I do?
There are a number of things that you can do to keep your business safe from hackers, and you’ll be surprised at how simple some of them are. Even taking some small, easy steps will make a big difference. We’ll discuss passwords, encryption, cloud storage, mobile security, and other issues.
We’ll be starting next Monday with advice on the simplest thing you can do to stay safe: effectively password-protecting as much of your business as possible. Be sure to check back!
Are there any specific issues you’d like to see us address in this series? Leave a comment below!