Never Too Small To Be Hacked
Some of you may not know this, but this week is National Small Business Week. Industries of all varieties are reflecting on topics important to the small business world. One topic that is important to organizations regardless of size is data security. Have you ever given thought to what your business would do if you were affected by a data breach? Some small, and I would argue even mid-size businesses, take the attitude that “I am small peanuts, this could never happen to me”. There is truth to the fact that hacking into a Target or Home Depot is a much larger scale attack and the amount of data you can breach is indeed larger. Sure, there is no denying that this is any hackers dream. One problem with enterprise size companies is once a data breach happens to an organization of their size, they tighten up their security and take measures to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen to them. Thus, making hacking them not an easy feat, especially since they have the resources to protect themselves. Some hackers may not be deterred, but there will be plenty that focus their attention elsewhere.
What is an easy feat is most cases, is hacking into a small or mid-size organization. Just because a small company getting hacked doesn’t make front page news, does not mean it does not occur. If you gathered the business owners within a 10 mile radius into the same room, you may be surprised how common small business data hacking is. Most small businesses don’t have an IT staff that is focused on their network protection. Some may only call in outside IT help only once a breach has happened. A security breach will hurt a small business and its reputation, especially when customer personal information is involved. The industry statistic is that around 60% of small businesses go out of business within 6 months of experiencing a security breach. According to First Data Market Insight, $36,000 is the average cost of a data breach for small businesses. Now that you have an amount associated with an average data breach, you can do the math and understand how experiencing one could impact your business and your bottom line.
Now that you understand the serious nature of a data breach, here are some quick tips to keep your business protected:
- Maintain a strong and managed firewall. This is the first line of defense for your network.
- Conduct regular network audits. The best day to determine if your network has been breached is to regularly scan and check for outside intrusion.
- Limit and tighten controls on outside access. If you decide to open up your firewall to outside vendors or partners, make sure you make difficult passwords and regularly change them.
- Encrypt all credit card data. Using an outdated POS system puts you at high risk for hacking. Make sure your system complies with PCI standards to protect yourself and your customers.
- Segment your network. Consider a virtual LAN that separates authorized traffic into a security zone.
You may be overwhelmed right now with the thought of adding these additional duties to your plate. This is why using an outside IT Consultant may make the most sense for your organization. It is their job to specialize in network protection and can help ensure your business is protected. 2W Tech is an IT Consultant and also an ERP Consultant and can help make sure your network, including all data and your ERP system, is protected from any outside attacks. We have also partnered with Axcient to create our own Uptime for Epicor solution for your network and ERP system. Learn more on that product below.