Data security can be confusing – even for information security professions.
Changing attacks. Continual software updates. Ever-changing (and improving) security methods. The need to proactively monitor networks. Deciding how and when to encrypt data. Changing passwords and access requirements. And those are just the tip of the security iceberg.
It's seems easier to just ignore the problem because it doesn't affect you (you mistakenly think). You've got anti-virus installed and backup your laptops, what more do you need?
Before telling you what every SMB business owner needs to know about security, you MUST understand this one simple fact:
Your small size does not protect you from hackers. You. Are. A. Target. Protect yourself.
If you think that, you're eventually going to experience a data breach. Or have your data held for ransom.
Stealing online data and information is big business.
Have you ever wondered why you need to block phishing emails and why you keep hearing of more ransomware attacks in the news?
Because they make criminals money. The FBI estimates that ransomware was a $1 billion industry in 2016 – and that might be an underestimate.
Criminals don't care who they attack, so long as the chance of success is good.
That's where small and medium businesses come into the picture.
Your business probably holds personal customer data like social security numbers or banking details. Depending on your industry a security breach of that information could get you fined – not to mention the reputational damage to your business.
Data, network, and information security is a vast topic. You don't need to know everything about it. We've boiled it down to the essential concepts and tools that you need to understand to protect your business.
Sound good? Read on.
Security Numbers You Need to Know
The initial problem is that you don't think there's a problem.
Most SMBs don't think they have anything worth stealing. You do – even if it's just your own information held for ransom. Are you part of a larger business' supply chain? Do you think they'll continue to work with you if you experience a data breach? Target was compromised through a partner. Are you willing to put a business relationship at risk because you're not worried about security?
In 2013, Symantec research showed that 61% of cyberattacks targeted SMBs. That percentage hasn't declined.
82% of small business owners who were hacked assumed they didn't have anything worth stealing and neglected network security. Source: Towergate
87% of organizations have “complete trust” in their network and security techniques. However, 71% of those same organizations have been breached in the last 12 months. Source: Solarwinds
A data breach is going to cost you money in recovery time and costs and in the “soft” costs of lost business from unhappy customers. The Ponemon Institute estimates that it costs $158 for each lost or stolen record.
The Security Challenge for SMBs
There are two critical security challenges every SMB faces:
- The cost – both financial and in time – of managing network security in-house.
- The increasing difficulty of recruiting cybersecurity experts. There is a growing skills gap and shortage of cybersecurity talent.
Security – Here's The Knowledge You Need
To help you keep your network and data secure, we've written extensively about these issues over the past year on our blog. Here's the list of the essential topics you need to understand regarding securing your company from hackers and assorted cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity Expertise Shortage
- One Looming Cybersecurity Risk – No Cybersecurity Staff
- Mind the Gap – 6 Reasons SMBs Will Lose IT Talent
Data Breaches Cost Money
Employees – Your Biggest Security Issue
- Your Biggest Network and Data Security Challenge: Your Employees
- Your Employees COULD Be Your Biggest Data Security Headache
- Millennials, Job Hopping, and 4 Data Security Tips for You
Passwords and Other Security Tips
- Ransomware – Something REALLY Scary on Halloween
- 15 Tips That Will Keep You From Paying For Ransomware
- Data Backup Can Protect You From Ransomware
- Unprecedented Move by Microsoft Illustrates How Serious Ransomware Is
Social Engineering and Phishing
- Go Phish – Protect Yourself and Your Business From Phishing Scams
- Social Engineering – Defeating Security Measures for Thousands of Years
- Cybersecurity Training Tip – Why Explain Why
- The Biggest Security Mistake? It's Probably Not What You Think
Unified Threat Management
Need EVEN MORE Security Knowledge?
We've also created a series of eBooks and security checklists. They are free. Download them all!
- (Almost) Never Worry About Network Security Again With Managed IT
- No One Wants To Hack My Business (You're Wrong)
- 11 Network Security Issues You Need to Know About
- 53 Timeless Security Tips for Your SMB