Businesses of all size are targets for cyber criminals. The stories continue to appear in the press about hacking systems, stealing customer data and more. In some cases, a smaller business may be a bigger target, given its often having fewer resources than do larger enterprises. Read more about this and other facts from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
What Needs Protection?
When you think about your business, focus on the steps you need to take to protect all your assets - digital and more. In addition, take whatever steps are necessary to secure your network. If you’re reading this article on an office computer, for example, ask yourself what important information you have stored on your device — and what would it mean to your day-to-day operations and competitive advantage if that information was stolen? Bank account data, the file with employee salaries, and that word document or spreadsheet with your online account log-ins … it’s almost too frightening to think about. But this should be top of mind, each and every day, especially as the threats become more prevalent and more sophisticated.
In the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, we learned that hackers commonly use automated attacks to infiltrate small businesses. You can work diligently to help prevent these attacks.
The Crown Jewels of Your Business
So where do you start? The first step is to acquire some basic knowledge about where your most important and possibly vulnerable data is held — on desktops and servers, or in cloud services and mobile devices. Locating these assets is job number one. Make a list or ask an IT or cyber threat professional to help you. This is not a job for a generalist. It takes someone knowledgeable about cyber threats to help you create and implement the tools you need to protect the crown jewels of your business.
All Threats Are Not External
It's been shown that not all threats are necessarily from the outside. Data and information can be located in multiple places, perhaps even on an employee’s personal laptop. Be sure to cover all your investigative bases when locating the devices that could cause your business harm.
Small businesses need to be especially vigilant about their vulnerability to the possible theft of proprietary company secrets and sensitive customer information. Read more on the Identity Theft Resource Center website.
Start With a Cyber-Sensitive Culture
So as a small business owner, how do you wrap your head around what needs to be done? The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) strongly recommends that businesses build a "culture of cyber security". As any sports fan knows, the best defense is an offense. And so it's true in the world of cyber security. Be on the offense to minimize your risks. Your employees play a critical role in protecting the business.
Do you need help developing a cyber security plan for your business? The infographic below spells out not only the risks you face, but also sites where you can find the information you need to get started on that plan. Be sure to include your employees from the start so you develop and sustain that culture. Clear, consistent regular communication is a must.
About the Author
Cory Warren is a writer and former television news reporter. He is currently editor of LifeLock’s blog, LifeLock UnLocked, where you can find news you can use to help you protect you and your family from the growing threat of identity theft.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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