Besides the increase in security and data breaches, data loss is up 400% from 2012. Although this does not bode well for a company’s customers, companies also have a lot at stake when it comes to data loss.
According to the National Archives & Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more during a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. Additional research from the University of Texas has also found that 43% of companies that suffer catastrophic data loss never reopen, and 51% close within two years.
While there may be various reasons for data loss, there is a simple way to prevent devastating data loss: create backups. However, 58% of businesses have no backup plan for data loss.
Here are some of the best practices for safely backing up data.
Backup Data Regularly
Although the amount of data may vary per company, they share a common denominator: whatever is stored frequently changes as data is created and/or modified on a regular basis. This is why it is important to frequently backup data. Data can be backed up hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Choose a backup schedule that is apt to how often data is created. The more frequent, the better.
There are several programs that can automate the backup process for you.
Test Data Backups
Even if backups are completed, an important practice that is often neglected is testing these backups frequently to ensure that you can actually restore the data when you need it.
Store Data Backups in More than One Place
When it comes to backing up important files, there is no such thing as having too many backups.
Store data in both onsite and offsite locations. Keep multiple copies of external hard drives: one onsite for easy access and another backup copy in an offsite location (like a bank safety deposit box) in case of disaster. These ideas represent an easy and inexpensive way to store backup files.
However, besides the fact that hardware devices may run the risk of being stolen or broken, it is easier for malware programs like spyware to encrypt data stored on these hardware devices, so you also need to store copies of your backup on offsite locations. Make use of file servers, offsite servers, and cloud storage.
These solutions allow you to access your data from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. On the downside, these solutions can be pricey and data retrieval depends on internet speed.
Final Thoughts: Best Practices for Safely Backing Up Data
Life has been made infinitely easier with the help of technology. But, it’s important to remember that technology isn’t fail-safe, and can cause serious damage to businesses if it breaks down. Thus, it is important to take a proactive role in ensuring that data is always safe.If you need help securing your data systems, we’re here for you. Contact the experts at Harrington Technologies.
Why You Should be Using a VPN
It’s not uncommon in today’s entertainment to come across a scene where one of the characters is able to gain access or retrieve sensitive information by hacking through security systems or computers. As they say, fiction mirrors reality—so what happens on TV is definitely based on what is happening in real life.
Whether people are aware of it or not, there is always someone watching and trying to steal personal information for their own gain.
In this current day and age of the internet, it shouldn’t take a serious data breach (like the much-publicized Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal) for people to take action when it comes to their data privacy, especially when there is an easy way to keep data and internet browsing sessions safe. It’s called a virtual private network (VPN).
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, allows users to access a secure private network and share data remotely, even while they’re connected to a public network. To visualize how a VPN works, imagine a secret tunnel that leads you to an end destination without running into any unwanted hitches. Usually the route takes more time, but it gets you to your destination safely.
A VPN cloaks and encrypts your internet activity so that your data is secure. Instead of accessing the internet directly, it goes through a VPN server, which manipulates your IP address so that it appears as if you’re using a different device or coming from a different location.
The primary reason to use a VPN is for data privacy.
America does not have data privacy laws as stringent as the European Union, which recently enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Sadly, few states recognize an individual’s right to privacy—save for California, which currently has an online privacy law in the works. Although US institutions must abide by certain regulations regarding personal data, they are severely outdated and not comprehensive.
Net Neutrality is a set of rules that required internet service providers to treat all websites equally and prevent them from overcharging for better service or content. The repeal of net neutrality means that internet providers can opt for a pay-to-play strategy, which means that consumers might have to pay more for better service. This provides advantages for people and businesses that can pay while alienating those with less budget.
If you live or visit countries with restrictive internet connections such as China, VPNs allow you to bypass censorship restrictions and access the internet freely, while concealing your activity from the government. In fact, in countries like these, as much as 30% of the population use VPNs.
On a lesser scale, VPNs can also keep your connection safe, especially if you use public WiFi connections in places like coffee shops.
The good news? Americans are aware of how government and corporate entities manipulate how their personal information is collected and used.
According to a 2018 Pew Research study on internet privacy, 64% of Americans believe that the government should do something to address internet safety and privacy, with 61% saying that they would like to do more to protect their privacy. A simple way to do so is through the use of a VPN, but sadly, only 17% of Americans use a VPN, versus 25% of the rest of the world.
Final Thoughts: Why You Should be Using a VPN
With data breaches and the end of net neutrality, a VPN is an affordable way to keep your data and browsing safe. If you’re looking for additional guidance with protecting data privacy in your organization, contact the experts at Harrington Technologies.
GDPR Basics for Tucson Businesses: What You Need to Know
On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s (EU’s) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into full force. It is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years, replacing the the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.
While seeking to give the citizens of 28 EU countries more control over their personal data, at the same time, GDPR simplifies data regulations for both local and international businesses with a unified regulation that stands in the EU.
Despite the fast-approaching implementation date, there is still much confusion surrounding the GDPR, especially in terms of what it means and what businesses should do about it. In fact, it was found that 84% of SMEs are still unaware of these policies, which might have something to do with the fact that the entire policy is 200 pages long. With this in mind, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2018, more than 50% of companies will not be in full compliance with its requirements.
As a business owner, here are the basics you need to know about the GDPR.
What is the GDPR?
In a nutshell, the GDPR looks out for the data privacy of individuals by requiring businesses and organizations to provide and develop clear policies to protect personal data. It also pushes them to adopt appropriate technical and organizational measures.
GDPR was built around two key principles:
Simplifying and harmonizing directives for international businesses by unifying the regulations within the EU
Giving EU citizens and residents more control over their personal data.
In fact, with the GDPR, explicit content is required before companies can process data, and citizens can request for access or information as to how their data is used. The GDPR also allows citizens the ‘right to be forgotten’. This means that if they do not want you to process their personal data, or if you have no legal grounds for keeping the data, like if a person is no longer a client of your company, you must respect their decision.
Companies that are not compliant with the GDPR can be fined up to 20 million euros (about US $24 million), or 4% of global revenues—whichever is greater.
Will this Affect US Businesses?
One criticism of the GDPR is that they have not defined territorial scope adequately. But in a nutshell, the GDPR will apply to businesses that processes any data from citizens of the EU. Put simply, yes, the GDPR affects US-based businesses.
Before you get too worried, Article 3 of the GDPR states that the rule only applies if you collect personal data from an EU citizen within EU borders. But if the EU citizen is outside of the EU, GDPR does not apply.
Anyone found breaching any of these laws must be reported to the regulator within 72 hours (24 hours, if possible).
Final Thoughts: GDPR Basics for Businesses
With so much recent news about data breaches, the GDPR is a step in the right direction on controlling data privacy and will change the way Europeans approach data privacy. Once this is implemented and proves successful, there’s no doubt that more countries will follow suit.
Learn more about the GDPR on the EU’s website about this new policy.
How to Protect Your Personal Information on Facebook
With up to 87 million Facebook users’ personal information harvested and passed on to Trump-affiliated political firm Cambridge Analytica, which used it to target voters in the 2016 presidential election, people throughout the world are scrambling to better understand how to protect their personal information on Facebook and other social media outlets.
After you’ve checked if your data was given to Cambridge Analytica, you’ll want to go ahead and see which apps and websites have access to your personal information. This can be done by going into your settings, and then clicking on “Apps and Websites.”
Wired explains, “If you do find apps there that you want to remove—it’s amazing how many you can pile up over the years—keep in mind that they can still hold onto your data after you give them the boot. To be totally free and clear, you have to contact them directly, through their Facebook page or website, and ask them to clear out whatever they have on hand.”
Facebook’s Suggestions for Security
Facebook offers six things you can do to help keep your account safe, but they don’t seem to offer much insight other than what most would consider the most basic of internet security.
Protect your password: Don’t use your Facebook password anywhere else online and don’t let anyone else know it.
Log out of Facebook when you’re done using it on a shared device.
Use anti-virus software.
Think before you click or download anything.
If Facebook’s list doesn’t really make you feel any more secure or informed—don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Put Your Account on Lock Down
The first step toward understanding and gaining control over your social media accounts, especially Facebook, is locking them down. You can tighten up your Facebook account by clicking on the settings and selecting “Privacy” from the options on the right.
Take a look at who can see your future posts and start editing. You’ll most likely want to move it from “Public” to “Friends.” However, if you’re really wanting to keep things private, you can select “Only Me.”
This only takes care of future posts. Now, take a look under “Who Can see my stuff?” Here, you’ll find the option to limit the audience for posts that you’ve already shared with friends of friends or the public. Click on “Limit Past Posts.” After the menu expands and you click on “Limit Old Posts,” a warning box will appear—click confirm.
Once these two major steps have been taken, you can start going through the details of your profile and deciding what you want to make available to friends or the public—like if you want your age to show, your relationship status, and so on.
Protect Your Personal Information on Facebook
What this most recent breach of trust between Facebook and its users—most of whom did not fully understand how much of their personal information they were selling for the privilege of using Facebook—reveals, is the need for individual users, as well as businesses, to be savvier in understanding cybersecurity risks. These risks are heavily compounded for businesses that not only need to protect their own data but are also saddled with the responsibility of protecting the sensitive personal information of employees and clients.
IT solution companies, such as Harrington Technologies, are built to keep your business running smooth and fast, ensuring the highest-level of security for you, your employees, and your clients. Get in touch to learn more!
3 Password Management Tools For Your Business
This might sound obvious, but many people forget that secure passwords are essential to your business. Not only do you have the need to protect your company’s information but are often responsible for protecting client’s information. Failing to do either of these can be detrimental.
Businesses, which often have more than one employee who needs to be able to log in to an account or program, have a unique issue when it comes to password protection. Your data is only as safe as the weakest password in the system.
The Equifax Data Breach, which exposed more than 140 million American users’ personal information (including social security numbers), inspired huge numbers of people to begin sifting through the dozens of password managers available for one that would work best for them.
To simplify your own research process, here are the top three password management tools for your business.
The LastPass(word) You’ll Ever Need
LastPass is an excellent option for your startup businesses, especially if you’re still not convinced you need a password manager (seriously, you do though).
The company offers a free version and a paid version. However, for individuals, the free version is packed with enough extras that it will be hard to justify spending money on anything else. In addition to serving single consumers, LastPass offers team and enterprise versions, both with free trials.
With an AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 to ensure complete security in the cloud, LastPass allows you to create a master password (ideally, a strong master password) to locally-generate a unique encryption key. This basically breaks down to you needing only one password to access all your accounts.
Get Away Clean with Dashlane
Dashlane claims that “employee adoption is the key to your business’s security — and we’ve built a product they’ll actually want to use.” And, PC Magazine agrees.
According to PC Magazine, “If the password manager interferes with your normal flow, you just might stop using it. Fortunately, Dashlane handles all the basic tasks and more, with flair.”
With Dashlane for Business’s terrific dashboard interface, which provides information on the password health on all devices, it’s not a surprise to hear the company, and PC Magazine, push its user-friendly side. The password manager is designed to be easy for tech-savvy people (as well as the rest of us!) to use.
One of the features of Dashlane, which uses a“military-grade” encryption, allows you to create and organize password categories, as well as limit, revoke, and assign privileges to your team members based on their access level.
You’ll Never Need Another Password Manager Once You Have a Keeper
With the same encryption system as LastPass, Keeper is another standout password management tool. Offering native apps for all popular platforms and browsers, as well as two-factor authentication and secure password sharing and inheritance, it’s no surprise to find Keeper among the top choices for businesses.
Additionally, it offers many of the other features a business owner wants a password manager to include, like retaining a full history of passwords and files; auto-filling web forms and app passwords; and emergency access.
Final Thoughts: 3 Password Management Tools For Your Business
Though LastPass, Dashlane, and Keeper are some of the best password management tools available, there are plenty of others that offer top-flight security and additional features that might be a good match for your businesses.
No matter which password management tool you decided to go with for your business, the most important thing is that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your business and your clients.
Want extra help with your cyber security? Contact us for a free audit of your business’s security and find loopholes you might not know exist.
How to Create a Strong Password
One of my quirks is an uncanny ability to create nearly impenetrable passwords. Are the passwords I create for my clients quick to type and easy to remember? No. But they offer the type of data protection I demand for my clients.
When I received a report recently with the most popular passwords of 2017, I couldn’t help but shake my head. I have a feeling that, if you know anything about cyber security, you’ll have the same reaction. Here are the top 10, according to SplashData:
Number 16 on the list was an interesting addition for 2017, so it’s worth mentioning too. It was “starwars.”
Now, I love Star Wars and football just as much as the next guy, and I can relate to the frustration of just wanting to get let in to an account, but to use these words and number series as a password is asking for trouble. If you’re tempted to steal from this list of passwords because they’re easy to type and remember, I urge you to think twice.
Here are a few tips from yours truly, the password fanatic, on how to create memorable, yet strong passwords.
Notice that some of the most popular passwords contain a series of numbers. These series are patterns that are easy to guess and easy to hack. SplashData reported seeing some attempt at securing this style of password by adding a character at the end (for example, 123456!) but alas, adding a character does not make the password safer to use.
I suggest avoiding patterns in general. Instead, mix up your password with letters, numbers, and characters. More on how to do that effectively below
Jumble a Phrase
If you demand a password you can remember, choose a phrase you love. Since ‘starwars’ made the list of popular passwords, let’s use this as an example to illustrate this point.
Once you have a phrase in mind that’s memorable to you, jumble it with numbers and characters. Starwars could then become $t@r34rS or S!a&w@r$. It’s hard to see but those characters and numbers are replacing letters. $ can be used in lieu of the letter S. @ can be used in lieu of the letter a. It’s a simple concept but when used effectively it can exponentially increase your password’s strength while still making it memorable.
Now, although this approach helps, using a phrase and replacing letters with numbers that look similar isn’t always the safest approach. Still, it’s far better than typing a series of words that are easy to guess, so we’re at least moving a step in the right direction if you use this method.
Use a Password Generator and Keeper
The most secure types of passwords are those you could never rattle off to a friend or remember to type without hours of practice. They’re secure because they’re nonsensical. Having a password like this might sound like a nightmare scenario, but there are apps to help you remember and protect them, so you don’t have to memorize 20 random characters, numbers, or letters.
To generate a password, I like Random.org’s Password Generator. You can choose how many characters each password should be and how many different passwords you need.
Storing passwords, so you can quickly pull them up when needed, is another important step. After all, what good is a password if you don’t have it when you need to login to an account? There are a few services that help with this. A few of my favorite include:
I’m an advocate for strong passwords because I’ve seen the devastation it can cause when passwords aren’t secure. There’s a reason for being such a stickler about this and I hope when you create your next password, you choose a strong one for your sake.
Want extra help with your cyber security? I’m here for you. Give us a call for a free audit of your business’s security and find loopholes you might not know exist.
The Best Gift for Your Small Business in 2018? Cyber Security Consulting
‘Tis the gift giving season. While you might be busy checking others off your holiday list, it’s important for you to remember one very deserving recipient – your business. On this year’s hot list for small businesses: Cyber security consulting.
How secure will your business be during the clinking of champagne glasses and singing of Auld Lang Syne? Will all of your sensitive business data continue to be securely stored when you arrive at work in the New Year and in the 52 weeks to come?
If you’re not sure how safe your business intelligence is, now is the time to think about putting a big red ribbon an important and potentially money saving gift this holiday season. Here’s why.
78% of Organizations Have Suffered a Data Breach
That shocking statistic from Ponemon Institute and TrendMicro proves that companies of all sizes are vulnerable. It also shows just how active hackers are these days – and the matter is only getting worse.
A few months ago, the Equifax data breach struck people around the world causing many business owners to freeze their credit reports and keep a laser focus on what went in and out of their bank accounts. One business owner we heard from got notice of a $650,000 withdrawl from her business account at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night. She immediately had to shift focus away from productivity to get that money back.
Hacks like this aren’t unheard of, although most happen on a much smaller scale. Although you can’t ever be fully protected from outside risk, there are certain things you can give to your business now to improve your security in the New Year and beyond.
Train Your Employees
Cybercriminals steal approximately $1 billion annually from US and European small businesses every year, according to SC Magazine. Many times, the entry point isn’t through a data server; it’s through an employee’s negligence. A click on a malicious link from a seemingly innocent email can send your business into a tailspin.
With cyber security consulting for your small business, you can train your team on how to identify these threats, so there’s less opportunity for the bad guys to access your sensitive information.
Up The Protection Ante
When was the last time you looked at your cyber security architecture? When was the last time you evaluated the programs you have in place to protect the data stored on your servers? If it’s been awhile, you might have a few outdated systems that could be leaving you at risk.
Calling in a cyber security expert can help you analyze what you need and what you don’t. It’ll help you identify holes in your current approach, so you’re not leaving your business to chance.
Think Again About Your Device Policy
I get it. It’s easier and cheaper to operate with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy at work. Employees like it because they can use only one computer or mobile device to keep in touch with the office. Still, these policies expose your business to attacks that, if not approached correctly, could be disastrous.
Before you nix the BYOD policy altogether, bring on someone who is an expert in these types of attacks that can analyze how you’re operating and where you’re exposing your business to danger. The longer you keep your personal devices unsecure, the more at risk you put your business.
Backup Your Data
I can’t stress this enough. Having a solid solution for backing up your data is one of the best things you can do to protect your business. There are several reasons for this.
The most obvious reason is that backing up your data means you have your most private business information in the event of a loss.
The lesser obvious reason lies in how that loss happens and when. For example, if you arrive at work one morning to find your business has been attacked by ransomware (which happens at a shockingly high rate to small businesses in Tucson and around the country), you could face days or weeks of downtime. This in turn could mean lost sales, lost future business, and in many cases, the shutting down of your business all together.
This isn’t something to mess with. By having your business data backed up on a regular basis, you’re able to restore it quickly in case of an attack, keeping you profitable.
Ready to Schedule a Cyber Security Consultation?
Give your business the gift of security this holiday season. In doing so, you could be giving yourself and your employees the gift of continued growth and uptime, which could be the difference between having a job and losing a job.
We’re here to help. Call us to schedule your consultation and learn more about how you can stay protected.
What Successful Business Owners Do to Protect Company Data
Consider this: Whenever a customer gives you their private information to complete a transaction or application, they expect you to keep their information safe. The data is the business’s responsibility and in the event it is leaked, the business will be held liable.
Can your company afford to lose thousands of dollars in lost productivity and be held liable for your customers losses too?
Small business owners in particular are guilty of brushing off thoughts of cyber attack asking, “Why would someone target small businesses when they can get more money from bigger businesses?” Unfortunately, about 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, with 60% of these businesses closingwithin 6 months after the attack. What’s worse? 80% of these breaches could’ve been prevented.
Those are figures that are jolting enough to wake up any business owner. If you’re not protecting your data, here are a few plays you can steal from successful business owner’s playbook to do protect your business and customers.
Create a Data Backup Plan
Backup your data. You’ve probably heard this advice over and over again – and for good reason.
Simply put, if someone hacks into your system and takes your data, everything is gone – unless you backup your data. With a copy of your most recent information, it will be easier to rebuild your business than if you had to building it up from scratch. There are several ways to backup data, and these backups should be updated often.
It is considered ideal to keep several copies of these data backups. The backup copies should not be kept in the same place. Some recommend putting one copy in a bank safety deposit box and another in a fireproof office safe, but if you prefer to be less low tech, you could opt to spread your data backups amongst several online cloud repositories.
The point is that it’s important to have a copy of your data in another geographic location besides where you’re based. An automated secure encrypted cloud based solution makes that easy. Running to the bank can become a nuisance that never gets done regularly, which leaves you vulnerable. Know your own weaknesses before settling on a solution.
Data encryption is a way of protecting data from people you don’t want to see it. It isn’t just limited to protecting sensitive information like personal & credit card information, it can even hide your cloud system and keep your whole operating system safe. While preventing hackers from getting access to data is important, it still is smart to prepare in the event that they are able to access your system. If they do get into your system, a powerful and updated encryption technology will render the data useless to them.
Security software serves as the first line of defense against attack, designed to identify, prevent, stop and repair the damage caused by others to your computer and data. There are several types of security software, including antivirus, antispyware, anti-ransomware, firewalls and more.
If you have multiple computers, you’ll want to install these security solutions on your network.
Not sure where to start? We partner with several software security companies, such as TrendMicro and Carbonite to get you started. Reach out and we’ll set you on the right path.
Hire Someone to Monitor Your Data Security
As business owners, there are so many things to take note of, and data safety shouldn’t have to be one of them. If you’re worried about a larger additional cost, you will benefit from outsourcing your technology needs. Managed IT services are more affordable than in-house staff and will take care of everything for you round-the-clock.
What Successful Business Owners Do to Protect Their Data
Protecting business data is necessary these days, but can seem overwhelming to those that do not have any experience with it. Businesses can protect themselves by using a managed IT services provider like Harrington Technologies which provides day-to-day support and maintenance of your network.
Why It’s Important to Keep Your Medical Office IT Secure
Prior to today’s tech boom, recordkeeping was done by locking papers away in cabinets inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. Keeping patient records confidential was literally done through lock and key. With today’s technology, it’s even more important to keep patient records confidential so as not to breach the patient-doctor privilege.
With the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) in 2009, hospitals and health care providers were mandated to adopt electronic health records (EHR). By 2015, doctors and health care practitionerswere instructed to avoid the use of handwritten charts, and fully switched to an electronic medical record system.
This process brings about a whole host of new challenges in preserving patient confidentiality.
Advantages of EHRs
The new law does have its advantages. According to a study by Therry, Thorpe, et al (2008) for the US National Library for Medicine, some benefits of the EHR include:
Efficiency: no need to look for patient’s physicals charts, just look them up on the database
Easier collaboration between healthcare professionals: whether for patients who frequently transfer hospitals or have multiple doctors, to gathering data for research studies
Decreased medical errors
So, why is a tech person talking about the advantages of the medical industry? Because without proper technology, you could be putting your medical office at risk. Despite the advantages, it is imperative to protect patient data from the most nefarious of culprits; hackers.
Medical Office Hacking
Several people have authorized access to a patient’s medical records including: doctors, nurses, billing officers, database administrators, and office staff. Patients usually have access as well, via online portals.
But like germs a hospital aims to treat, this information may spread and cause problems. The US Department of Health & Human Services has reported 116,000 data breaches in 2009, when the law was first enacted – affecting about 31.3 million people.
In April 2014, health care provider, Community Health Systems, experienced a breach affecting 4.5 million individuals, stealing “nonmedical patient identification data.”
Why Hackers Love EHRs
The biggest reason hackers love EHRs is the value of the data contained therein. Hackers can use personal data obtained to claim medical benefits, file illegal tax returns, commit identity theft, or even blackmail patients. EHRs are 10x more valuable than credit card information on the black market, according to a Reuters report.
Another factor that makes EHR a prime target is the lack of awareness among healthcare institutions. Many do not have enough experience protecting data, because they are busy helping their patients live happier, healthier lives. There is a lack of cybersecurity professionals in the healthcare industry.
How Hackers Gain Access to Medical Data
Many hackers get access via ransomware. This infects computers in the network, and encrypts files, making them inaccessible to the intended user. Similar to kidnapping, hackers ask for a ransom to unlock the data. Most EHRs lack basics like antivirus or firewalls, and many fail to update their systems regularly.
What You Can Do to Protect Medical Office IT
Patients are entitled to know how their health records are secured under HIPAA (the Health Information Portability & Accountability Act). If their information is not secure enough for their liking, Rachel Seeger, spokeswoman for the HHS Office of Civil Rights, goes as far as to recommend that they change doctors.
For health care providers. Take the following steps to keep your records secure:
Invest in a reputable EHR vendor that will work with you closely to secure your system
Invest in training your employees on how to properly utilize your records system
Establish proper user logins and verification of authorized users
Perform periodic audits to check for any security breaches or identify weaknesses
Encrypt patient data
If that sounds like too much to handle, consider investing in professional managed IT services that can do that for you after the EHR vendor has installed the system.
Besides the health of your patients, medical record safety should be a top priority for healthcare providers. It is not enough to ensure that your patients are healthy – make sure your systems are safe from hacking or misuse. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep this information secure!
Why Your IT Services Must Include Security Against Ransomware
You wear many hats as a business owner. IT shouldn’t be one of them. But are the IT services you’re employing doing an effective job at stopping some of the biggest cybersecurity threats to small businesses today? If protecting against the threats posed by ransomware isn’t on the list, your small business might be in jeopardy.
Ransomware is a Bigger Threat Than You Might Think
As the name implies, ransomware is when hackers take all of your business’s data (including sensitive financial information and customer details) hostage and demand a ransom. It hits suddenly, without warning. One night you close up shop as usual and the next morning you arrive at the office unable to open or delete any of your files. The only way to regain access is to pay up. Prolong payment and the ransom amount will increase.
Small and medium sized businesses like yours are the biggest victims of this threat. That’s because SMBs usually employ outside IT services to help manage their technology. If ransomware protection isn’t on the list, they’re the ones that are most likely to fork over the money to keep their business up and running.
It’s a Commercial Operation
Ransomware isn’t a new threat but it is quickly becoming an epidemic. There are commercial outfits running the game, making the hackers more powerful, effective, and downright destructive. These hackers are raking in upwards of millions of dollars each year preying on unsuspecting business owners.
If you’re not proactively working to protect your business from this growing threat, you’re in danger.
How Your Small Business IT Services Can Save You From Falling Victim
Train Your Team
Ransomware wreaks havoc after one person unsuspectingly opens a seemingly innocent file in an email. Training your team is the first line of defense against this threat. Your IT services provider can help talk to your employees and teach them about how to identify dangerous links or attachments to minimize the threat of your business being attacked.
Keep Your Security Software Up-To-Date
Anti-virus and anti-malware security software is essential in today’s business environment. But you can’t just install it and then forget about it. It must be kept current to stop the latest strains of threats. The company providing you with this essential service should ensure you’re always up-to-date with your computer security software.
Backup Your Data
The best way to protect against ransomware? Back up your data!
Data protection software will regularly scan your computer and take snapshots of your data. If you’re hit with a demand for ransom, you can hit the reset button to the last snapshot, essentially turning back the clock and restoring your company’s data to before the attack.
Not Sure if You’re Protected?
The risk isn’t worth it. Let us know if you’re in doubt about whether or not you’re protected. We’ll do a free security audit on your IT to expose any potential threats and show you how you can get more secure.