This summer, large-scale security breaches have made headline news while many more cyberattacks are happening all around the world.
The latest massive data breach was targeted at the federal government and is said to have affected 21.5 million people. This follows a breach in June affecting 4.2 million federal employees. Information compromised includes current and former employees’ sensitive information such as social security numbers, residency and educational history, employment history, and even information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances.
Even hackers themselves are being targeted. An Italian-based firm known for their tools that help governments and companies break into target computers and phones was a recent victim of a security breach including executive emails, customer invoices, source code, and even the company’s Twitter feed.
No business, big or small, private or public, is immune to a cyberattack. The enormities of the breaches this summer only show how vulnerable any sector can be.
Research shows that small businesses are actually the most targeted group. The 2012 Data Breach Investigations Study by Verizon shows that in 855 data breaches they examined, 71 percent occurred in businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Small businesses may not have justification for the high cost of employing highly trained security professionals, but there are still some things they can do to better prepare themselves. They cannot assume that hackers would not target them because of their size.
Vanick Digital wants to provide you with prevention advice to protect your business no matter your size.
- Arm yourself with knowledge and establish data protection protocols. Educating your staff and implementing proper procedures will greatly reduce your risk of a breach.
- Backup your computers. You wouldn’t believe how many times computers are stolen without any backups ever being done. Not only do you lose your physical computer but all of your data.
- Consider how you store customer lists or intellectual property of any kind. Take extra care to safeguard sensitive data. Are you using a secure and trusted Cloud-based service? Or is it easily available for a hacker?
- If your business processes, stores, or transmits credit card information, ensure that you are PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. If your data is breached, you can avoid stiff fines and penalties.
- Diversify your security plan. Experts recommend using a variety of tools and techniques from anti-virus and anti-malware to a well-constructed firewall.
- Determine a plan of action if your company is breached. If you have a plan in place, you will be able to respond much faster to a cyberattack which will reduce the significant cost of a data breach and reduce any further damage.