Most businesses collect customer data each day including customer credit card information and customer demographic information. Since virtually all businesses use the internet in some way, customer information, along with all of the businesses own data, is vulnerable to attack.
It is important to put proper safeguards in place to prevent a data breach. A breach not only exposes sensitive information it also results in disruption to the business and opens the possibility of lawsuits.
Data breaches don’t happen to just large institutions, such as banks, small and mid-sized business are targets as well, actually pretty easy targets.
Almost half of cyber-attacks are aimed at small business. Why? Small businesses typically don’t devote resources to preventing attacks. In many cases, small businesses are just not aware of the severity of the issue nor that they are in fact vulnerable. It is not surprising that most of the successful cyber-attacks happen in small companies. It is not surprising that about the same number of business owners do not have confidence in their security measures. Hackers see small businesses as targets since they don’t protected than the data with the same sophistication as large corporations.
Over half of small businesses do not have cyber insurance.
If a business suffers a breach, some of the consequences are:
- Lawsuits. Customers whose data and security were compromised will sue.
- A PR nightmare. No doubt there will be a cost to repair the company’s image.
- Costs to perform credit monitoring services for customers whose data was compromised.
And the systems will have to be fixed.
Unfortunately, most small business owners believe that a data breach won’t happen to them, either because they think they have adequate protection in place or because their information isn’t worth stealing.
Data breaches happen in a variety number of ways.
- Opening an email that contains a damaging virus.
- A hacker finds a way into the system.
- Devices such as smart phones or tablets that can access the businesses systems are lost or stolen.
- Former employees or current employees who are disgruntled or dishonest.
- Use strong passwords. More than half of data breaches are caused by weak passwords
- Implement virus protection, firewalls and encryption techniques.
- Limit information disclosure
- Investing in cyber liability insurance.