Each day, we work with many small business owners and decision makers on a variety of security and resiliency issues. While they remain worried about building fires, COVID-19, and hurricanes, they don’t quite realize that one of the greatest threats to their business is that 2 x 4 inch screen that spends most of the day in their pocket … or the 1 x 1.5 foot slab of circuits and wires that sits beside their desk all day.
It is infinitely easier for a hacker or identity thief to steal money or destroy a business than it is for an old-school thief to break in to a brick-and-mortor shop and raid the cash drawer.
Cyberthieves set themselves apart from typical thieves in several different ways:
If you have a store-front business, would you leave the entrance door wide open for anyone to walk through anytime … even after closing hours? Would you use the lock or not? If you have an alarm system, do you arm it all the time or just some of the time? Would you bother to connect the security cameras have been installed for years in your store?
Most people don’t realize that spending thousands of dollars on fancy cybersecurity software to be protected is really unnecessary. In fact, most people don’t use the tools that THEY ALREADY HAVE!! Just like not bothering to lock your car door or setting the alarm to your home, by not using these tools, you are inviting someone to take advantage of you, and it is a huge mistake.
Here are 7 deadly cybersecurity sins that most individuals and small business owners commit daily, leaving themselves wide open to be destroyed:
Sin #1: Using simple passwords or using the same password EVERYWHERE
Your atonement: Create long passwords - 14 characters or longer - The longer the password, the harder it is to guess (exponentially harder). Make sure that every account has a unique password (even Facebook and Instagram).
Sin #2: Not taking the time to configure multi-factor authentication
Your atonement: Enable MFA wherever you can - Email, social media, bank accounts, etc. Most providers allow for the configuration of MFA … so configure it, and use it!
Sin #3: Conducting business on an open public WiFi
Your atonement: Don’t! Conducting business using an open public WiFi (such as at your local coffee shop or McDonalds), especially if you are handling sensitive information, is like having your credit card number printed on a hat and wearing it wherever you go.
Sin #4: Skipping the antivirus option (hint … it’s not an option)
Your atonement: Make sure you have a current antivirus program installed and functional on your computer.
Sin #5: Failing to keep your computer or phone updated with the latest updates or updated to the most recent version
Your atonement: This is for those of you who still think Netflix only mails DVDs, or that Amazon only sells books. Software and computer manufacturers are required to provide security patches at no charge to their customers, so there is no excuse not to do this. Ensure that your phone, your computers, and your software (including phone apps) are patched regularly. Also make sure that the programs on your computer (as well as the operating system itself) are still supported. If you don’t want to enable auto-update, set a monthly reminder on your calendar and block off the time to review the available updates and run them.
Sin #6: Failing to back up your important data
Your atonement: Back up your data - You can get a file-level cloud backup for a fairly cheap price. When all else fails, at least your data isn’t lost for all eternity. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS HAVE A CURRENT BACKUP OF YOUR DATA!!
Sin #7: Responding to the Nigerian prince
Your atonement: The most important thing that end-users need to know is that “awareness is key.” Phishing emails are still the #1 vector for cyberattacks. Good ol’ social engineering. To recognize the threat, “hover” over the URL links with your mouse to see where that click will take you if you click it. If something doesn’t look, sound, or smell right, DON’T CLICK IT!!!
Avoid business damnation by these 7 deadly sins and revel in the heavenly joy of cybersecurity!
While getting run over by a reindeer may be low on the threat list to your small business, the analogy is apt in that MANY things can go wrong during the holiday season that can affect any businesses, small or large. This time of year, businesses need to be especially wary of and prepared for threats that may cause a disruption and have plans in place to minimize the impact as much as possible.
Large businesses with multiple locations across several or many states have the resources available to more easily absorb the impact from a major storm. But small businesses are often left with limited resources and support to prepare for and recover from disruptions. In this article, we offer resources and tips on preparation and recovery for small businesses BEYOND plywood and sandbags.
People get sick. People die. People quit. Every company has one or more roles that just HAVE to be done every day. If the person doing that job now were to suddenly not be able to perform, it could be disastrous. A pre planned Succession Plan is your insurance against a major disruption when the inevitable occurs. But you don't need to hire a fancy lawyer to put something simple in place. This easy DIY succession plan guide can help you quickly get SOMETHING in place when the unthinkable happens.