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When you look at all the ways that your data can be placed at risk, it can be pretty discouraging. As discussed in our last two blogs, data is at risk from bad actors, failed hardware, human error and external events largely beyond anyone’s control. However, there are a range of solutions, some of which can be money-saving, that can help mitigate risk. Here are four key areas on which to focus.

 

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With the news cycle dominated by data that has been stolen by cybercriminals, it is easier to overlook the other, sometimes benign ways your data may be placed at risk and become inaccessible to your employees and customers.

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We hear a lot of talk about data security because of the constant threat of cyber attacks and hacking. News of data breaches are extremely common. As a result, we are exceptionally concerned about the branding and reputation consequences of a data breach. However, there are other events which could occur that make our data inaccessible. It is important to know you are doing the best you can to protect against cyber attacks, ransomware and other forms of data theft, but data security goes beyond that. Instead, let’s look at data from a broader perspective.

 

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This cyberattack scheme isn’t new, but it has become increasingly common over the past several years. Many of the viruses lurking out there steal data to be used for nefarious purposes. The goal has long been to access important financial and personal data that can be sold off. For example: Credit card numbers that can sold and used to buy things. Social security numbers that can be sold to be used to create fake identities. In the case of many viruses, victims may never even be aware their data has been accessed. Typical malware and spyware tries to go undetected. Not ransomware. Ransomware generally does not access your data to sell off to criminals. Instead, the virus kidnaps your data until you pay ransom.

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There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane. Every small business needs to do a risk assessment to determine all the threats that exist that could bring harm. External threats are the ones that get the the most attention. These can be big snowstorms or hurricanes that bring down power lines and network connections. They can also be man-made. A power outage due to a grid failure, or an act of terror. Also in this category are phishing scams, cyber attacks and data theft from external sources.

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BYOD refers to a firm’s policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.This is a pretty common policy, and it has many benefits, but it brings along risks. How are you addressing these risks?

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Are you under the impression that data loss is all about putting up firewalls to protect against evil cyberattacks? Some of the biggest sources of data loss include sloppiness, human error, and just plain forgetfulness.

What are some of the unglamorous things that we do everyday that leave us vulnerable?

 

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Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven’t the resources to address such “unthinkables.”

If your business was down for 1-2 days or more, what costs would you incur?

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You went into business because you have an interest and expertise in some particular product or service. You began the firm to offer that product or service, but a dirty little problem came along with that new company. IT requirements. You need equipment, and you need networks, and printers, and data storage to keep the company up and running. As a consequence, you’ve become responsible for managing something you probably don’t care very much about or even understand especially well.

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Many SMBs don’t realize it, but the path to some grand cybercrime score of a lifetime may go right through their backdoor. SMBs are commonly vendors, suppliers, or service providers who work with much larger enterprises. Unfortunately, they may be unaware that this makes them a prime target for hackers. Worse yet, this may be costing them new business.

Larger companies likely have their security game in check, making it difficult for hackers to crack their data. They have both the financial resources and staffing power to stay on top of security practices. But smaller firms continue to lag when it comes to security. In many cases, the gateway to accessing a large company’s info and data is through the smaller company working with them. Exposed vulnerabilities in security can lead cybercriminals right to the larger corporation they’ve been after.

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