Data Security and Your Small Business: What You Need To Know

When looking at data security, many people think they have an abundance of systems and safeguards in position to keep their information protected. Sure, you will have antivirus software and you might even update it regularly. You may even feel that you’re too small of a company to be a target of a hacking attempt. Only big firms that have thousands of clients need to be concerned about cyber criminals, right? Wrong. Hackers and cyber criminals have actually escalated their focus on small businesses. We want to help you understand the dangers your small business might be facing.

Small firms: low-hanging fruit

Sadly, small businesses make easy targets, so hackers are beginning to focus on them. Small firms are quick hacks and the criminals can make more hacks at a quicker rate. With increased chances, their likelihood of stealing worthwhile information goes up significantly. As a small business, you may not think you have any important information, but in today’s world even the most basic information can be used to do harm to someone else. Credit card purchases are the most common targets of cyber criminals. Each time your system runs a transaction, it must verify the cardholder’s information. This information can contain card numbers, addresses, names, and more. Your customers do not want this information stolen!

How hackers gain access to your data

Even though you most likely have systems in position to defend your information, hackers will make use of several points of entry, so firewalls alone is probably not enough. Destructive email attachments are one of the biggest offenders. These attachments can leave your system wide open for data mining. This year alone in the first quarter, 6 million malware programs were identified. Aside from these more high-tech tactics, cyber criminals also use low-tech methods to steal information. Phone calls as well as personal visits by someone pretending to be a network administrator or security firm can be damaging. We all hope our employees are smart enough not to be seduced by an obvious phishing scam, but it only takes one slip up to open yourself up for attack.

The buck stops with you

You may think that preserving your data security isn’t that important, as the credit card companies are accountable for any bogus charges that occur. While this is true for the consumer, as a business owner you might experience a very different outcome. Often if your systems have been compromised, they’ll hold you responsible for finding the breach. This may cost thousands of dollars and can ruin your profit margin for the whole year. In fact, some small businesses have been bankrupted by cyber attacks, closing their doors due to just one incident.

An ounce of prevention…

Taking extra precautions when it comes to your business’ data security is a very wise move. Continue to update your programs and passwords on a regular basis. Teach your employees good security practices like setting up strong passwords and instructing them to never give out login information or open suspicious emails. Hiring an outside consultant is another great way to ensure your clients’ information. These measures not only give you peace of mind, they tell your clients that you care about keeping them safe.

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