Cybersecurity is a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses. It has been increasingly apparent that, to remain competitive, businesses will need to keep their data secure, to protect their own interests, to protect their customers’ interests, and avoid regulatory fines.
The social aspect of cybercrime is very important. Consider the following statistics:
- 6 out of 10 employees steal corporate data when they quit or are fired.
- 39% of data theft occurs from current employees.
- 75% of office workers upload work files to a personal email or cloud account, making it less secure.
- Companies lose $519 million per year as a result of cybercrime.
- The Department of Justice has reported that yearly, more than 2 million U.S. adults experience some type of identity theft.
Protecting yourself and your customers against identity theft and data breaches is best thought of as a safety issue. Below are tips to keep yourself safe:
- Employees play a central role in keeping data safe, and strong passwords are the front line of defense. Choose different passwords for all of your accounts, and always create passwords that are not easily guessed. Avoid writing down passwords, and if you do, keep them in a secure location such as a locked file cabinet.
- Data breaches occur when confidential data is stolen by an individual unauthorized to do so. This data could include credit card or bank details, trade secrets, or intellectual property, and is often copied from stolen laptops. To protect against this, always keep computers locked in a safe place, with sensitive information backed up to a secure server.
- In a “Phishing” scam, individuals send emails claiming to come from a bank or social media site. These messages often request a password or some other personal data, which is then used to steal or delete information. Phishing emails often include links that, when clicked on, install malware on your computer. This software can then gain access to networks and steal sensitive information. Never respond to an email you don’t recognize, and never install unlicensed software on your computer.
- Never install unlicensed software: Software downloaded from the internet often contains maliscious software known as Malware. This software can do many things to damage your business, including spying on your worker’s activities, stealing passwords, and deleting company data.
Data breaches are a source of anxiety for HR managers and IT people at the biggest companies. In addition, government agencies are starting to prosecute Cybersecurity issues in a similar way to Safety & Hazard regulations. Failure to comply with cybersecurity basics can result in penalties up to $10,000 per violation and/or costly lawsuits alleging negligence in failing to protect sensitive personal information. Now that identity theft and data breaches are a fact of life, businesses owe it to themselves to learn all they can about cybersecurity.
These problems can be difficult to isolate and fix, and cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways to steal money and information. The best way to prepare for these threats is to own a guide to cybersecurity that covers all the bases. Our Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program is available in both print and digital versions.