If you own a small to medium sized business, you may think that there isn't much to worry about in terms of the safety of your information. After all, why would a hacker or cyber criminal go after your business when they could be targeting other larger and much more profitable companies? Unfortunately, that false assumption ends up costing business owners a lot of time and money.
A report from the cyber security firm Symantec showed that in 2012, 31% of all cyber attacks were committed against businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Cyber attacks are on the rise, and everyone needs to take precautions to protect their data. Security network services can help you keep your data secure, but many small business owners don't see the point in using them, which is a big mistake. Here are some of the ways that small businesses are vulnerable to cyber criminals:
Lost or stolen devices
Do you distribute mobile phones, tablet computers, or laptops to your employees? Do your employees occasionally use their own personal devices for work? Those essential objects pose a significant security threat if they're lost or stolen. For instance, in 2006, the laptop of a Department of Veteran Affairs employee was stolen from the person's home. The device contained the birth dates and social security numbers of millions of former and current service members. In the end, it was recovered and specialists determined that none of the sensitive data on it was accessed or duplicated, but the agency suffered greatly in the public eye. A simple encryption program could do wonders to protect your data in case a device were misplaced or taken in such a way. While we're on the topic of stolen devices, we should talk about the threat of…
Mobile phones have come a long way over the past decade, and now it isn't uncommon for people to use their phones for work. Most people don't view their smartphones as actual computers, and that line of thought has the potential to be dangerous. Your mobile phone should have as much protection as your work laptop or computer, but since most people don't bother to set security standards on their phones or install security programs, most smart phones are very vulnerable to hackers.
Your own employees
There is a big elephant in the room when people discuss the important of cyber security for businesses, and it's the fact that the average employee can pose a significant security risk. A disgruntled or upset former employee could send crucial data to competitors, or could simply cause problems on your business' network. Worse yet, it's much more likely for a current and happy employee to cause problems. They could accidently download malware or spyware when they open an e-mail or click a link. They may not properly set a password for their computer and could leave it vulnerable to hackers. Your employees need to be educated on the basics of cyber security so that they don't make a mistake that could harm your company.