3 Deadly Mistakes You’re Making By Being Cheap With Technology

Today’s small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have an uneasy relationship with technology – even if they don’t realize it yet. As the marketplace reaches new heights of complexity and speed, and consumers migrate to cyberspace en masse to make their buying decisions, SMBs are responding in turn. Today’s savvy business owners utilize ever-evolving technologies to capture their customers’ interest and imagination, make conversions and manage their day-to-day operations with unprecedented ease and clarity. Certainly, the Internet age is a thrilling time to be in business. Each business is equipped with wildly powerful tech that has transformed the landscape of commerce forever.

But there’s an uncomfortable truth that goes hand in hand with this increased dependence on technology. At its best, IT allows us to do incredible things we never would have imagined were possible even 10 years ago. At its worst, IT is an unreliable, finicky and potentially hazardous scaffolding upon which we built our loftiest hopes and dreams. Even the best IT requires wrangling to shape it to our needs and keep it on track and safe from intruders.

Despite this reliance on technology, the vast majority of business owners consider it an extra expense rather than a foundational element of their company. As a result, they skimp on technology spending. But being cheap comes with a cost – one much bigger and more dangerous than you probably realize. Here are three mistakes you’re making by underspending on this key part of your business.

1. You’re spending on technology based on an unrealistic, poorly planned budget rather than building your technology budget around your actual needs.

When you’re an SMB with limited resources, it’s easy to see any money saved on software and hardware as a success, leading businesses to opt for cheap, clunky and outdated solutions. But in a world where the lion’s share of your day-to-day operations is dictated by the digital equipment you and your team use, where small businesses exist under constant threat of cyber-attack and data is a precious commodity that could disappear at the speed of a failed backup, cutting corners is unwise. Updating your digital approach and tightening your cyber security may not result in obvious, immediate returns on your investment. But adequate technology spending is just that – an investment. When you invest in the latest technology, you’re investing in the long-term productivity and security of your business.

2. You’re opening yourself up to disaster.

It’s one thing to have an employee’s computer unexpectedly fail or for an Internet connection to have a momentary hiccup. But if you’re skimping on technology, you’re leaving your business vulnerable to catastrophes that could cost you thousands. One of the most prominent and overlooked of these threats is cybercrime. According to the 2016 State of Cyber Security in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses report, half of all U.S. small businesses fell victim to a cyber-attack in 2015 – a number that has only continued to climb. The majority of these attacks are ransomware, in which entire systems are locked out of vital data and forced to shell out enormous sums to recover it. Even if you assume you’re secure (and you probably aren’t), there are other risks to contend with. Server failures, backup loss and system downtime can shutter businesses just as easily as a vicious hacker.

3. You’re letting the competition get ahead.

Outsmarting your competitors takes more than just mimicking whatever latest strategy the thought leaders of your industry are championing at the moment. It requires anticipating future trends and acting on them. And in business, there’s one universal truth you can count on: The future of your industry lies in technology. Cloud services, new and constantly updating software, CRMs and a staggering array of productivity-enhancing tools are just a few of the advances your competitors are considering (if they haven’t snatched them up already). If you neglect the future, your company is destined to become a thing of the past.

Posted in eTechTip - PC | Tagged | Leave a comment

3 IT Investments You Should Never Skimp On

There’s a disturbing trend underlying the business world’s increased reliance on technology. No, we’re not about to decry technology itself. Nor will we downplay the endless list of ways in which tech has enhanced business owners’ ability to reach more prospects, build meaningful relationships with clients and make the previously labyrinthine tasks of yesterday seem positively mundane today. There’s no denying that the Internet age has empowered companies of all sizes to do incredible things and that technology is forever transforming the way we do business. Today’s savvy businesses are intertwined to an unprecedented extent with the technology they use.

But there’s a problem that goes along with this increased dependence. Despite the inextricable relationship today’s companies have with IT, the vast majority of them – SMBs in particular – are neglecting key aspects of their tech. They’re skimping where they shouldn’t, cutting corners wherever possible and, as a result, leaving themselves open to a huge variety of potential disasters.

To avoid the pitfalls of our technology-dependent world, it’s important to ensure you have a firm IT foundation. Here are three IT investments where you should avoid underspending or risk shuttering your business forever.

1 CYBER SECURITY

Across the tech industry, it has practically become trendy to point out how woefully underprepared SMBs are for modern crime. But it’s true: according to the 2016 State of Cyber Security in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses report, a full 50% of all U.S. small businesses succumbed to cyber-attacks in 2015, a statistic that is rising and shows no sign of slowing down. Most small business owners assume that since they’re the “little guy,” there’s no reason why a well-equipped and highly trained team of hackers would ever target their meager stores of data. But, in fact, it’s these hapless businesses that end up being the low-hanging fruit for these operations. Millions upon millions of dollars are stolen from SMBs each year, and most of it is gleaned via vicious ransomware.

2 PROACTIVE TECH SUPPORT

It’s probably easy to imagine how a vicious cyber-attack could leave your business reeling, but there are equally insidious risks that could cost your business bigtime. Consider server failure, for example. No matter the caliber of equipment you’re dealing with, failure is an inevitable risk of technology. But instead of being proactive, most business owners just assume that downtime is a fact of the modern world. As a result, 73% of businesses have had some type of operations interruption in the past five years, causing a staggering $70 million loss, according to an infographic published in VentureBeat. The worst part? The vast majority of these outages are avoidable.

The fact is that a cheap “break-fix” technology technician is only there to put out fires, not to proactively prepare your business for success. By the time your break-fix IT guy shows up on the scene, the damage will already be done. This results in dramatically lowered efficiency and potentially thousands of dollars in lost sales – not to mention the cost of all those customers you lost while you were off dealing with a tech crisis. And that’s only one example. Finicky software, stuttering computers and lost backups may seem like small issues until you’re in the midst of disaster and the costs are adding up. It’s better to avoid these catastrophes in the first place.

3 TECH STRATEGIES TO BEAT THE COMPETITION

Technology isn’t just a crutch we use to make navigating the marketplace easier; it can equip us with a set of tools that allow us to actively surpass customer expectations and streamline our efficiency, lowering expenses and empowering our employees. You can bet on the fact that your competition is doing everything it possibly can to stay abreast of the latest technological trends. Don’t let them pull ahead. Instead, invest in strategies and software that will trim away precious seconds from inefficient processes and enable you to focus on what really matters: making your business succeed.

Posted in eTechTip - AP | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Shocking Truth Behind Cybercrime Threats

Today’s technological innovations have empowered small businesses to do things that would have been utterly unimaginable even 15 years ago. To remain competitive in a constantly shifting landscape, we’ve become more dependent on software and hardware to house even the most basic structures of the companies we run.

Meanwhile, these technologies are evolving at breakneck speed. Every day, there’s a slew of new devices to consider, a pile of new updates to install and a new feature to wrap our heads around. Every morning, we wake up and the digital world is thrillingly new.

But all over the world, there’s an insidious network of criminals keeping up with this insanely rapid pace of progress. With every new security measure designed to protect our digital assets, there are thousands of hackers working around the clock to determine a new way to break through. An estimated 978,000 fresh new malware threats are released into the world each day. The term “up to date” doesn’t mean much anymore in the wake of new developments arriving minute by minute.

There’s a price to pay for the increased efficiency and reach enabled by the digital age. We’ve all heard the story before.

A massive, multinational corporation neglects some aspect of their security and falls victim to a crippling large-scale cyberattack, with criminals lifting millions of dollars in customer data and digital assets. Equifax, J.P. Morgan, Home Depot, Yahoo!, Verizon, Uber and Target – these narratives are so commonplace that they barely raise an eyebrow when we read about them in the news.

Most business owners wrongly assume that these incidents have no bearing on their own companies, but these high-profile incidents account for less than half of data breaches. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of attacks are directed at small businesses, with half of the 28 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America coming under fire within the last year.

It’s hard to imagine how you can possibly protect yourself from these innumerable threats. Statistically, you can be all but certain that hackers will come for your data, and there’s no way to know what new tool they’ll be equipped with when they do.

You may not be able to foresee the future, but you can certainly prepare for it. With research, education and resources, you can implement a robust security solution into the fabric of your business. That way, you can send hackers packing before they get their hooks into the organization you’ve spent years building from the ground up.

One huge leap you can make right now for the security of your business is to simply realize that cyber security isn’t something you can install and leave alone for years, months or even days. It requires regular updates and the attention of professionals to ensure there’s no gap in your protection. There are new shady tactics being used by criminals every day, but there are also fresh protocols you can use to stave them off.

Small business owners assume that since they don’t have the resources of a Fortune 500 company, they don’t have the means to invest in anything but the barest of security.

Obviously, hackers know this and target SMBs in droves. The bad news is that most businesses’ paper-thin barriers won’t save them in the event of a crisis. The good news is that it doesn’t take thousands upon thousands of dollars to implement a security system that will send the hackers packing.

Posted in eTechTip - PC | Tagged | Leave a comment

Security Alert! Hackers And Cybercriminals Are Now Concentrating Their Attacks On Your Business Is Your Cyberprotection Up-To-Date?

Technology exists in a state of constant flux. The most popular gadgets turn obsolete within a year or two, the sophistication of the hardware and software we use increases exponentially with each passing month and the digital foundations of modern society are almost continuously supplanted. Every day, there’s a new device to contend with, a fresh update and an addendum to the already dizzying array of features at our fingertips.

It’s a thrilling world full of possibility and potential, but our dependence on these ever-changing technologies comes at a price. The overlay of the Internet on all aspects of our lives is fraught with vulnerabilities that criminals are eager to exploit. Though new protective measures are developed at the same breakneck speed as the software they guard, so are new ways to penetrate and circumvent these defenses. It’s estimated that 978,000 new malware threats are released with each passing day. It’s clear that “upto- date” can no longer be an accurate descriptor; it always describes a system one step behind the newest development.

Today, cybercriminals are casting a wider net and catching more hapless victims than ever before. We read about the most costly of these breaches in the news each morning, including Equifax, J.P. Morgan, Home Depot, Yahoo!, Verizon, Uber and dozens more.

even comprise the majority of attacks. According to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of breaches occurred at small businesses, with half of the 28 million small businesses across the United States succumbing to a digital strike. Even scarier is the fact that UPS Capital reports that 60% of these businesses shut down within six months of a breach.

It’s a bleak reality to come to terms with if you’re a business owner. The truth is that it’s almost a statistical certainty that hackers will come for your data, and when they do, they’ll likely be using techniques nearly unrecognizable from today’s malicious flavor of the month. How can you possibly prepare for something that is constantly changing?

The answer is sustained attention, vigilance and resources directed toward protecting all that you’ve worked so hard to build. While it may be impossible to foresee exactly how hackers will try to penetrate your business, it’s well within the means of most businesses to implement comprehensive security solutions to give your organization a fighting chance.

It’s vital to realize that, unfortunately, security protocols aren’t a set-it-andforget- it proposition. To respond to the evasive and increasingly sophisticated tools being shared throughout the enormous hacker community, you need an equally sophisticated and regularly updating security system. For nearly every one of the 978,000 fresh new malwares developed daily, there are patches and updates designed to address them – strategies and techniques to outsmart even the most devious of criminals.

Just because you don’t have the resources of a massive corporation doesn’t mean you need to be low-hanging fruit for well-funded and highly organized cybercrime rings.

Hackers assume that a business like yours is too tiny and ill-informed to prepare for even a simple phishing scam, and they’re usually right. But if every business owner put just a little more effort into securing their data, you can bet attacks would be curbed. And if every small business pledged to implement a professionally managed security protocol, we would see the frequency of these hacks diminish drastically.

There’s a lot for business owners to think about during a year as chaotic as 2018, but your top priority should be the basic security of your company. Invest your time and resources into building a foundational blockade for potential threats, and you can rest assured that your livelihood is safe from digital collapse.

Posted in eTechTip - AP | Tagged | Leave a comment

Here Are 3 Things You Should Absolutely Demand From Your IT Services Firm – Are You Getting Even One Of Them Now?

Even as businesses across the country go completely digital, and the entirety of their precious assets are stored on servers, the quality of many IT services providers has plummeted. In a misguided attempt to cut costs and save money, some short-sighted businesses are unable to see the utility of accurately-priced IT options, so they opt for lower tier, “break-fix” firms to keep their network afloat. Instead of paying monthly fees for managed services, they call up an IT professional only after something has broken down and pay them by the hour.

This strategy certainly saves money in the short run, but it opens your business up to all kinds of technological disasters in the long haul. These disasters range from vicious cyber-attacks that punch through the gaps in your security to total server failures that cause you to lose thousands of dollars of essential data. Break-fix technicians only get paid when something in your system breaks — they have no incentive to be proactive with your network, or to detect potential concerns before they become a full-blown crisis. What’s more, they’re unfamiliar with your network, increasing the amount of time it takes to get your network up and running in the midst of a crisis. Over time, this approach of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” will end up costing much more than a managed services provider.

When you’re shopping for the best IT service provider for your business, it’s important to remember just how much you depend on your technology to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Here are three standards you absolutely need to demand from your team of IT experts before disaster strikes.

Constant Monitoring Of Your Network

The best managed service providers aren’t reactive, they’re preventative. Instead of waiting around until something breaks, and your business suffers hours of downtime, they keep an eye on your network 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring nothing goes amiss. By gaining an intimate knowledge of the way your particular network operates, they can see any inconsistencies or holes in your security long before they become a problem. And if an issue does arise, they are there to fix it immediately – usually before the business owner even realizes there’s a problem.

Rapid Response Times

Since your MSP is regularly monitoring your system, they’re ready in the event that any potential catastrophe might rear its ugly head, taking a proactive stance before it hits your bottom line. You don’t have to wait on hold to find out when the next technician may be available, ticking away precious minutes, hours, or days before the problem is addressed. When something happens, the MSP is immediately on it, and since they know your network, they can iron out any hiccups in record time.

A Real Investment In Your Success

Since MSPs depend on the success of your business to survive, you can bet they’re doing everything they possibly can to keep your network running smoothly. It’s in the MSP’s own personal interest to establish a flawless, predictable system that is efficient and easy to work with. Over time, the MSP will implement repeatable processes to fix issues before your customers feel their effects. Because if the customers experience the problem, the MSP will, too. Unlike break-fix technicians who depend on outages to get paid, MSPs will work with you to build a system that requires the least possible effort on both of your parts. This means your system will integrate seamlessly with your day-to-day activities and rarely suffer any issues at all.

Partnering with a managed services provider may cost a little more upfront, but within months, you’ll experience the massive benefits of a team of IT professionals who actually want your business to succeed. In the long run, the peace of mind and sheer volume of crises you avoid with an MSP will far outweigh the cost.

Posted in eTechTip - AP | Tagged | Leave a comment

Don’t Ever Let Your IT Company Do This To Your Computer Network

Today, when companies need to be lean, nimble and brutally efficient to survive in a competitive marketplace, cutting unnecessary costs is paramount. Unfortunately, it can be easy when you’re on a tight budget to accidentally strip away components of your business that may seem gratuitous but are actually essential to your success.

One of the first things that often ends up on the chopping block in the frenzy to save money is IT. Instead of continually investing in managed IT services, where professionals carefully maintain, protect and update your network month to month, some businesses decide that the best way to keep their technology running smoothly is to simply leave it alone, calling up a professional only when something breaks down.

Of course, this approach forgoes monthly costs and shaves off a fair few dollars from your technology budget in the short run. But while this approach may seem cost-effective, it opens up your business to a huge variety of technological crises, from expensive network outages to cyberattacks that may cripple the very future of your company.

The Problem With A ‘Break-Fix’ Strategy

It can be hard to imagine the huge list of problems that might arise within your network. So, it’s an understandable strategy to wait to do something until an issue becomes a serious problem. At that point, they bring in a professional who – charging by the hour – attempts to suss out and repair whatever may be broken.

It seems like a logical approach, but unfortunately, it’s littered with huge hidden costs. If you’re calling an IT expert only when something in your network is broken, only your most urgent technological needs are addressed. When your technician is being paid an hourly wage to fix a specific issue, there’s no incentive to be proactive with your system. They won’t recommend important, money-saving upgrades or updates, and they will rarely be able to detect a crisis before it happens.

What’s more, the approach “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” very likely leaves huge holes in your security and drastically magnifies the costs of an IT meltdown. If they’re only arriving in the midst of crisis, there’s hardly ever an opportunity for the break-fix technician to strengthen the barriers between you and the hordes of hackers clamoring for your data. They’re on the clock, being closely monitored to fix the problem and then go away. Meanwhile, the security landscape is constantly changing, with criminals and security experts in a back-and-forth arms race to stay abreast of the latest developments.

Without someone managing your system on a regular basis, your protective measures are sure to become woefully out of date and essentially useless against attack.

Why Managed IT Services Are The Answer

When you turn your IT needs to a managed services provider (MSP), you’re entrusting the care of your network to a team of experts who have a real interest in your success. MSP engineers regularly monitor the health of your system, proactively preventing disaster before it enters into the equation and hurts your bottom line. Beyond this preventative care, MSPs do everything they possibly can to maximize the power and efficiency of your equipment, implementing only the best practices and the latest software and updates.

When you invest in an MSP, you may have to invest more funds initially, but likely you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run by avoiding cyber-attacks, downtime and hourly rates wasted on a technician who doesn’t really care about the future of your business. When you choose an MSP, you’re not just choosing a superior and healthier network – you’re choosing peace of mind.

Posted in eTechTip - PC | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Ways Your Employees Will Invite Hackers Into Your Network

Whether they’re criminals or heroes, hackers in the movies are always portrayed as a glamorous group. When it comes down to the wire, these are the individuals who crack into the ominous megacorporation or hostile foreign government database, hitting the right key just in the nick of time. They either save the day or bring down regimes, empty the digital vault of the Federal Reserve or disable all the power plants in the country. It’s always a genius up against an impenetrable fortress of digital security, but no matter what, they always come
out on top.

In real life, it’s rarely that difficult. Sure, if you look at the news, you might believe hackers are close to their Hollywood counterparts, stealing data from the NSA and nabbing millions of customer records from Equifax. But the majority of hacks aren’t against the big dogs; they’re against small to mid-sized businesses. And usually, this doesn’t involve actually hacking into anything. A lot of the time – approximately 60% according to the Harvard Business Review – an unwitting employee accidentally leaves the digital front door open.

The biggest threats to your company aren’t teams of roaming hackers; they’re your employees. Here’s why.

1 They’ll slip up because they don’t know any better.

With the proliferation of technology has come an exponential rise in digital threats of such variety and complexity that it’d be impossible for the average person to keep track of it all. Each of your employees’ lives are a labyrinth of passwords, interconnected online accounts and precious data. If their vigilance slacks at any point, it not only leaves them vulnerable, but it leaves your company vulnerable as well. For this reason, most cyber-attacks come down to a lack of cyber security education.

2 They’ll let you get hacked on purpose.

It’s a sad fact that a huge portion of digital attacks are the result of company insiders exposing data to malicious groups. Whether it’s info vital for your competitive advantage, passwords they can sell to hacker networks to make a quick buck or sensitive data they can make public simply to spite your organization, it’s difficult to protect against a double agent.

3 They’ll trust the wrong person.

For many hacks, little code is needed whatsoever. Instead, hackers are notorious for posing as a trusted member of your own team. And if you believe that you’d be able to spot an impostor from a mile away, you may want to think again. Not only is it easier than ever to crack individual users’ e-mail passwords and login credentials, personal info is now littered throughout social media. A simple visit to Facebook can give a hacker all they need to know to “social hack” their way into the heart of your business.

4 They’ll miss red flags while surfing the web.

Clickbait is more than a nuisance plaguing your social media feeds. It can be a powerful tool for hackers trolling for easy prey. If an employee doesn’t understand what exactly makes a site or link look dubious, they may open themselves – and your company – to browser exploits or other types of attacks.

5 They’re terrible at passwords.

According to Entreprenuer.com, “3 out of 4 consumers use duplicate passwords, many of which have not been changed in five years or more.” Even more of those passwords are simply weak, inviting easy access for unsavory elements. Many people brush off the importance of strong passwords, but the risks posed by the password “123456” or “password” cannot be overstated.

When it comes to defending your precious assets against digital threats, it can seem impossible to protect yourself at every turn. But there is one way you can make a concrete change that will tighten up your security more than you realize: educating your people. Through a comprehensive security training program, including specific examples of methods hackers use – particularly phishing – you can drastically minimize the risk of an employee accidentally opening up a malicious e-mail or posting sensitive info. When you make a concerted effort to make the entire organization vigilant against cyber-attacks, you’re much less likely to be targeted.

Posted in eTechTip - PC | Tagged | Leave a comment

Your #1 Hacking Threat Is INSIDE Your Own Organization

Every movie portrays hackers in pretty much the same way. When it comes to crunch time, they crack their knuckles, sit down at the keyboard, and begin tapping away at lightning speed. The timer is ticking down, the music reaches its peak of tension, but the hacker remains cool as a cucumber. Within seconds, they’re in, they’ve “hacked the mainframe” and prompted high fives from their swarm of cohorts waiting in the wings with bated breath.

In reality, hackers are rarely up against some impenetrable digital fortress, digging into the passwords of a megacorporation or the US government. The vast majority of the time, they’re nothing more than a ragtag group of bored criminals up against some unassuming small business. And more often than not, netting thousands of dollars from ordinary businesses just going about their day-to-day routines requires little coding at all, and certainly no “mainframe hacking.” According to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 60% of the time, all it takes is an unwitting insider to accidentally leave the company’s digital front door wide open.

The Dangers Of Human Error

Cybercriminals may be experts in sniffing out the slightest vulnerability in your company’s security, but a lot of the time, the data they need practically falls into their laps. Every day, internal e-mails are mistakenly addressed to the wrong people, sensitive info is inadvertently made public and employees unknowingly click on malicious links.

As technology has progressed, the number of potential threats has increased exponentially. Average Joes simply can’t be bothered to keep up with hacking trends, and therefore are prone to opening your business up to cyber-attack by simply bumbling through their daily activities. If they’ve never been taught, how could they possibly know otherwise?

Digital Impostors

One of the easiest ways hackers can gain access to your business’s valuable data is by posing as a trusted figure within your organization. This may sound complicated, but in today’s world of social media and constant interactions through screens, it really isn’t. Hackers can use data pulled from Facebook to either hijack the e-mail accounts and identities of employees or pretend to be them outright. After that, they can send peculiar requests to other members of your team. After all, if your CEO, Controller, or Office Manager sends you an urgent e-mail, you’re probably going to open it. In many cases, by gaining access to a particular team member’s credentials, hackers can bring down barriers and decrease the effectiveness of your security network, while staying completely invisible.

Smarten Up Your Team

No matter how comprehensive and powerful your cyber security software may be, it’s not going to do much if an unsuspecting employee welcomes the bad guys into your network. With that in mind, it’s vital that we provide specific training to our teams to truly make data security a priority.

But don’t do this alone — after all, you’re not the security expert. Instead, ask us (or your current provider) to equip you and your employees with the know-how to stave off digital attacks. We provide comprehensive services for you and your team, including:

  • Giving employees a crash course on contemporary hacking strategies. You’ll likely be shocked by how many of them don’t even know what phishing is. During the training, we will provide specific examples of potential attacks – especially phishing – and how to avoid them.
  • Putting systems in place empowering employees to alert the organization of vulnerabilities. For example, if John in manufacturing receives a suspicious e-mail, the entire company should be on the lookout within minutes.
  • Teaching your employees that software updates and patches are more than just a nuisance, they’re a necessity for up to-date security. When a new patch for a key program is released, we’ll make sure your team knows it’s available and that they shouldn’t avoid installing it until later, and provide them with the tools to make it happen.
  • Testing your team on what they’ve learned, such as sending out false suspicious e-mails containing shady links. If anybody fails the test, there’s still work to do.

Your people are your greatest asset, but they can also be your biggest liability. In the modern world, it can feel impossible to protect yourself from data breach. Luckily, when it comes to your team, there’s one potential avenue for hackers you can fix with a little perseverance.

Posted in eTechTip - AP | Tagged | Leave a comment

If You Think Your Business Is Too Small To Be Hacked…Then You’re Probably A Cybercriminal’s No. 1 Target!

In a world of rampant cybercrime, hackers thrive on the blind faith of their targets. Despite high-profile digital security breaches showing up in the news nearly every week, most people assume they’re safe from attack.

The thinking goes that while Fortune 500 corporations like J.P. Morgan, Sony, Tesco Bank, and Target have lost millions of dollars of data breaches in recent years, my business is far too small to justify a hacker’s attention… right?

Wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. According to StaySafeOnline.org, attacks on small businesses now account for over 70% of data breaches, a number that appears to be on the rise. Close to half of small businesses have been compromised, ransomware attacks alone have skyrocketed a whopping 250% since 2016, and incidents of phishing have followed suit, as reported by Media Planet.

Owners of small businesses might be excused for erroneously believing themselves safe. After all, the hundreds of little guys paying out thousands of dollars in digital ransoms each and every day are a lot less newsworthy than, say, the CIA’s recent hacking by the mysterious Shadow Brokers, or the 143 million sensitive customer records stolen in the recent Equifax fiasco. The lack of visibility of the more frequent, smaller-profile incidents plaguing the country can easily lull us into a dangerous false sense of security.

But why would a team of hackers zero in on a small-town operation when they could be targeting a giant like Google? Well, which building is a petty thief more likely to target — the bank in the center of a busy downtown, packed with security guards and high-tech theft prevention equipment, or the house in an affluent part of the city, which the owners always keep unlocked while they’re on vacation? Make no mistake — these hacker gangs aren’t boosting a couple flat screens and a box of jewelry. They’re gutting small businesses with ransoms that stretch to the very edge of their means, as much as $256,000 for a single attack, according to one TechRepublic analysis.

Of course, any small business owner will struggle to afford the security measures implemented by giant corporations. However, there is a balance to be struck between affordability and vulnerability. With just a little research, it’s actually quite easy to find an array of robust and comprehensive digital security solutions to protect your company. Such programs can turn your business from low-hanging fruit into an impenetrable fortress.

Even if you’ve somehow managed to make it through the past few years without a data breach, statistically, you can be confident that hackers will come for your business one day. With that in mind, it’s important to be prepared. Just because you haven’t had a life-threatening illness in the past two years doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a widereaching health insurance policy. Just because your car hasn’t broken down since you bought it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly change the oil and invest in car insurance. And just like your car, your network security requires regular maintenance and upkeep to stay effective. If you grab your security software from the bargain bin, install it and forget it, you’re only marginally safer than you were before installing the barrier in the first place. Cyber security isn’t something you purchase to check off a box and give yourself an imaginary peace of mind. Instead, it’s an investment in your company’s future, the safety of your customers, and the longevity of your livelihood.

If your business isn’t too small to attract the attacks of hackers — and we guarantee it isn’t — then it’s certainly precious enough to protect. Cybercriminals will come for your business one day, but equipped with a set of up-to-date, powerful security protocols, you can rest easy knowing they’ll go away emptyhanded.

Posted in eTechTip - AP | Tagged | Leave a comment

WARNING: Your Business Is More Likely to Be the Victim of Cybercrime NOW than Ever Before … Take These Steps Today so You Don’t get Hacked!

Though we’re in the midst of an unprecedented rise in high-profile cybercrime incidents, it’s easy to assume that our own much smaller businesses are safe. Sure, we think, hacking into the data stores of J.P. Morgan, the U.S. Government, or Virgin America can net hackers millions and millions of dollars. Why would they bother with a small business?

But unfortunately for all of us, hackers actually do bother with small businesses across the country — they just don’t make the news. By some estimates, including one reported in Media Planet, more than half of small businesses have had their data compromised. According to StaySafeOnline.org, these attacks, targeting small to midsize companies, now compose over 70 percent of all data breaches. What’s worse, this digital onslaught shows no sign of slowing. In fact, ransomware attacks alone have increased 250% since 2016, accompanied by higher rates of malware, phishing, and other forms of cybercrime.

Once you see these numbers, it’s easy to understand why hackers seek the little guy. These days, massive corporations like Google or Citigroup employ incredibly sophisticated digital measures. Their digital vaults, though containing ludicrously attractive sums of potential money to grab, are located at the end of a virtual labyrinth covered in traps, with a final, inches-thick steel door protecting their assets for good measure. In contrast, the digital assets of small businesses are often hidden behind nothing more than a single, often weak, password. With thousands of business owners going about their day-to-day, utterly oblivious to their paper-thin security, the question turns from “Why would hackers bother with my small business?” to “Why wouldn’t they?”

Though cybercriminals may come away with less than they might have had they targeted a Fortune 500, it certainly isn’t going to seem cheap to you. According to one TechRepublic analysis, an average cyber-attack on a small business can cost as much as $256,000. Is that a sudden cost your company can weather?

Luckily, there is hope. Though small business owners often assume that effective cyber security solutions lie far outside their budget range, robust digital security is now more affordable than ever. By investing in comprehensive protection, small businesses can deflect even the most persistent hackers.

Today, a cyber-attack on your business is almost statistically inevitable. And when that attack comes, you’ll definitely want to be prepared. If you haven’t needed a doctor for the past two years, does that mean you’re going to abandon your health insurance coverage? Of course not. What about car insurance? Does it become unnecessary in the absence of a crash? No, because even if you’re the best driver in the world, sometimes a collision is out of your control.

What’s more, both your body and your car require regular upkeep and maintenance to remain in peak condition. It’s no different with your network security. As technology hurdles forward at an ever-increasing speed, the ways that hackers can infiltrate your network multiply. The best digital security platforms constantly update, enabling them to anticipate these shifts and prevent them from becoming liabilities. This way, you can be proactive prior to a digital crisis, ensuring that no matter what comes, your network is protected.

Even as digital crime climbs at a staggering rate, and hundreds of small businesses are forced to close their doors for good, thousands of owners fail to notice, assuming they’ll somehow be spared from an attack. Don’t be one of them. Invest in regularly maintained, powerful cyber security, and ensure the future of your company.

Posted in eTechTip - PC | Tagged | Leave a comment
  • Categories

  • Categories

  • Archives