Security is the number two priority for small business IT.
Why is security the second most important thing for small business IT?
Because without proper security, your network and your data are at risk.
And the scariest thing about not having good security is that you might not even know that your network and data have been compromised. Hackers could already be inside your network, roaming through your data, using your property to hide out and launch attacks at other networks.
Doesn’t seem possible? Well, Madison Square Garden was hacked and credit card data was being captured and sent to thieves for almost a year before it was detected.
What if you found out that someone you didn’t know had broken into your house a year ago and was using your house, laying in your bed, wearing your clothes, eating your food, and going through your mail without you knowing it?
Pretty creepy, right? If that really happened to us in real life, most of us would not go home again until we were sure the intruder was removed and our house secured so well that we were sure no one could ever break in again.
But that very situation could be happening to your network right now. Without you knowing it, hackers could have breached your network, planted back-doors to get back in whenever they wanted, snoop through your data, steal what they want, and use your network to attack others.
Here are the risks to you if you security isn’t good enough:
- Risk of data loss – You could lose data as a result of hackers getting into your network. The hackers could delete it for various reasons, but it’s even more likely that while working to re-secure your network you’d restore from backups and lose newer data in the process.
- Risk of data corruption – Hackers may corrupt your data. It could happen by accident from them snooping, it could happen as a result of them trying to plant back-doors and viruses, or they could do it on purpose just because they can.
- Risk of data breach – Hackers that break into your network are doing it for a specific reason. One of the main reasons is for financial gain. They’re looking for information on your network that they can use to get money. Almost every network has files that contain passwords, bank records, staff records (social security numbers, names, dates of birth, etc.) and more. If you’re hacked, you’d better hope you don’t have health care, insurance, or credit card information stored anywhere that hackers get access to. The resulting fines, potential loss of your ability to do business, and the hit to your business reputation can be very hard to recover from. (See my previous post about Madison Square Garden breach.)
- Risk of data ransom – Hackers are looking for something. Usually it’s money-driven. Once they’ve exploited your network as much as they can, they can plant ransom-ware like Crypto-locker, et al. This crypto-ware, once installed, will run through all the data you have and encrypt it so that you’re no longer able to access it. The only way to get your data back is to pay a ransom (and then pray you actually get the unlock key – these are criminals you’re dealing with after all.)
- Financial waste – You could end up buying more network resources (servers, bandwidth, storage, etc.) because hackers are using your and making it seem like you don’t have enough. Not only would this cost you unnecessarily, but you’d also be inadvertently helping the hackers by supplying them with even more resources to use!
- Liability – In many of the scenarios above, you could be liable for the loss of data, or the leakage of data in a data breach. But you could also potentially be held liable for your network being used by the hackers for other crimes. It’s likely to ruin your day if you were to find out hackers have used your network in an attack on a major target (bank, Pentagon, Wall Street, etc.) and the FBI show up at your business to investigate why the attack came from you. Yikes!
Security and small-business:
If you don’t want to end up dealing with one or more of these scenarios, you need to take security seriously.
With hacking and data breaches at record levels and increasing all the time (see my previous post about the recent Madison Square Garden breach), it’s not realistic to think it doesn’t matter to your business.
Small businesses are targets too. Sure, we hear about the big ones because they make a bigger splash in the news. But the reality is that the skills and tools used to crack the big ones are getting more sophisticated and automated and once they exist, it’s easy for hackers to start using them against any business, even yours.
Security is like the Yin to backup’s yang.
With backups, “If you don’t protect your information, you’re not really protecting your network.”
When it comes to security, “If you don’t protect your network, you’re not really protecting your information.”
– Weston Henry
How secure do you feel your network is?
If your network was hacked, how would you know? Are you 100% positive that it’s not hacked now?[This post originally appeared on WestonHenry.com. Used by permission.]