Cyber attacks that steal sensitive data are an ongoing concern for every organization. Almost half (43 pecent) target smaller businesses. What’s worse, over half (60 percent) of the smaller enterprises that get attacked go out of business in six months.
Having sensitive financial, personal and operational data stolen can ruin a small business. Stolen records and transaction histories can be used to steal from the small or medium sized business or its customers and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
American Corporations Fight Back
American corporations like PwC have implemented cloud and other technologies to fight back against data theft. Small businesses can learn to mimic the ideas these bigger outfits use on a smaller scale.
Brenda Hudson is the Vice President of Inside Sales at Insight, a leading software and IT service provider. She says cyber security for small or medium sized businesses starts with some reflection.
Small Business Data Security Tips
Begin With a Conversation
“Cyber security threats are constant and present each and every day,” she says adding that smartphones and other mobile devices brought to work amplify the risk.
“Small business should start out talking about how they manage and secure presently, what their environment consists of and how they are thinking about cyber security as it relates to what they do.”
Talking with employees about what kinds of data they can keep on their work computers and what makes up good password practices are good starting points. Any conversation needs to be focused.
“It should be wrapped around their unique capabilities and the type of business they’re in,” Hudson says.
Use the Right Encryption
Of course, prevention is one of the fronts where the cyber security battle rages on. For small businesses, having the right encryption is a big part of building a solid online fort to keep hackers out. Hudson points out there’s a few choices on how to convert sensitive information into safe codes.
“You can encrypt at the individual level, what’s incoming and outgoing and the data behind the Firewall. Even auditing protocol can play a role in your encryption.”
Statistics report there’s work that needs to be done since only 22 percent of small to medium sized businesses have encrypted their databases.
Monitor What’s There
Many small businesses focus on the malware and other cyber pests trying to poke a hole in their defenses to get in. Hudson suggests it’s a good idea to take stock of your existing database to see if anything has already gotten through. In fact, studies show 55 percent of cyber attacks are inside jobs perpetrated by employees.
Subscribing to groups like Cyber Threat Alliance adds another layer of protection. They share threats to keep your small business updated and one step ahead of the cyber criminals.
“It’s got everything from what’s flowing into, what is already existing in and what may be flowing out of your environment,” Hudson says.
Consider Security as a Service Applications
Service as a security applications need to be considered too. These are generally software products. They help to batten down the data hatches when it comes to monitoring the flow of data through mobile devices. However, they also keep watch on the information passed though office printers, an office tool not usually associated with data theft.
Use the Cloud to Defend Against Ransomware
Having a secure backup plan is a good idea for all aspects of your small business and online security is no different. Saving and securing data in multiple locations that includes the cloud ensures you won’t be the victim of what’s being called ransomware.
That’s where online criminals manage to infect your system and take data hostage. By storing it in multiple locations you’ll be able to gain access and avoid these crooks. Hudson suggests starting out with everyone on the same page by discussing what the cloud has to offer.
“There are a lot of different cloud offerings,” Hudson says, “but the first conversation an SMB should have is about their security platform in the cloud.”
Data Security Photo via Shutterstock