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IF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS HACKED, THEN YOUR BUSINESS IS A TARGET

CyberSecurity.  You’ve heard the word, you’ve heard the warnings, and you’ve no doubt seen the now infamous privacy monitoring commercial.  You know the one where the CEO of that company puts his Social Security Number on the side of a truck and showed it on ads all over the TV.  Ultimately, not a smart move and an ineffective marketing gimmick.  Even if you missed it, there is no doubt that you’ve heard of Equifax and, in case you’ve been living under a rock, Equifax was hacked!

This is a company that stores data for nearly any American that has ever applied for credit.  That is practically everyone!  This is a company that should have the best practices, firewalls and security so that a breach of this magnitude never happens.  But the scary reality is that it did happened and my only question is WHY WHY WHY are more people not taking action to get protected.

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Learn how hackers are getting around your firewall and Anti-virus programs to rob you blind.

HACKING

If you’ve got an Internet connection into your business, you’ve got bad guys out there trying to find a way in.  Intrusion attempts can now target millions of businesses simultaneously, quickly probing each for weaknesses and then coming back later to spend actual resources only on those systems that aren’t properly protected.  What this means is that the size or type of the business is of no consequence to the bad guys.  They just want to find unprotected systems first, and then they can shape their actual response to those systems after they find out how they can get in.  Anyone unprotected is a target.

EMAIL PHISHING

People are easy to fool and the bad guys know it.  They know that if they spend a little time crafting a convincing email message, the odds of them getting their results increases exponentially.  Our Inboxes have become one of the front lines in the Cybersecurity war.  The results they are looking for are as varied as the messages themselves.  People are tricked into everything from entering credentials into fake sites to clicking an attachment that can install a virus.  Your IT Service Partner must have a comprehensive plan to limit your exposure to these email-borne risks.

DARK WEB

As each of us spend more of our business day online, we are counting on the websites we visit to keep our information private.  But all too often that doesn’t happen.  Right now, without you even realizing it, you might have sensitive private information being exposed, traded, and even sold on the dark web.  It could be common credentials, or the key to compromising a major system.  As more of our day-to-day business is transacted online, monitoring needs to be in place to let you know when your information has become exposed.

RANSOMWARE

There is nothing more profitable for bad actors than ransomware.  By slipping a single piece of malicious software onto your systems through an email attachment or infected website, they can now grab hold of all of your data and hold it for ransom.  New variations of ransomware turn up nearly every day, designed to slip past the latest countermeasure.  Unprepared businesses of all sizes are finding themselves forced to pay the ransom to get their data back.  There are comprehensive steps that can be put in place to minimize your risk of this kind of infection, but if you’ve planned for it in advance.

WHAT DOES A CYBER ATTACK MEAN TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Cyber attacks result in loss of revenue, loss of client trust, loss of reputation and in some cases, loss of the business as a whole.  Small and mid-sized businesses are hit by 62 percent of all cyber-attacks, about 4,000 per day, according to IBM.  Cybercriminals target small businesses because they are an easy, soft target to penetrate. They steal information to rob bank accounts via wire transfers, steal customers’ personal identity information, file for fraudulent tax refunds, and commit health insurance or Medicare fraud.

With the landscape so full of risks, there are many different ways for bad things to find their way into your business–A malicious email attachment opened, a website link clicked, or even a USB drive brought from outside the business and plugged into a system.  Any of these can wreak their own kind of havoc and quickly grind the business to a halt.  And the costs associated with an attack or infection can quickly become monumental.

This is a serious threat and it can no longer be ignored.

LOSS OF TRUST

Your customers trust and depend on you to help them grow their own businesses, and there are any number of ways that a security incident can undermine that trust.  Just think about how difficult it would be to have to call your largest customer and explain to them that your system got compromised such that their private data has been exposed.  Or imagine the ramifications of killing the project timeline of your biggest builder because your systems were down for days while you fought through a ransomware infection. Only a proactive plan can protect this trust.

DOWNTIME

When discussing the cost of an incident, it’s not uncommon for people to use payroll hourly costs as their primary means of calculating the cost of downtime. But we believe that payroll is only a small part of the equation. After all, you’re paying the folks to generate some profit for the Company while they are working, so add the loss of profit to the hourly payroll costs. And what if that downtime forces your customer to take their business elsewhere?  Have you considered the potential cost of the loss of future business?  It all factors in and your IT Service Provider needs to understand these costs as they are working you through the “defense budget.”

RANSOM DEMAND

Ransoms are currently paid in the anonymous digital currency known as “bitcoins” so unless you deal in digital currency, you’re going to have to find some way to convert your cash to bitcoins.  Since the bad guys making this happen are mostly likely half a world away, you’re going to have to wait for them to get your digital currency and then get around to sending you the unlock method.  The process can take days and there’s really no guarantee that any particular step of it will work.  If it all works fine, you’ll most likely look back and say the actual ransom amount was the cheapest part of the incident.

REPUTATION TARNISHED

Your customers and vendors expect you to keep their information safe, to be responsive to their needs and to help them be successful.  Break any one part of that equation and your Business Reputation might go up in smoke.  Today’s consumer is empowered like never before with the ability to complain loudly and to a large audience if anything goes wrong.  While folks are starting to understand that bad things can happen, they are also expecting you to have been aggressively doing everything you can to protect them.  Your IT Service Partner has never had a more important role than that of your trusted Security Advisor.

DON’T BE A VICTIM.

Threats are all around us. They can be big or small. They can come from the shadowed outfit overseas, or from the low-life walking down the street stealing mail. They can cause minor inconvenience, or cripple entire organizations.
Whether you’ll be facing up against a convincing phishing campaign, or an sophisticated virus, taking steps to protect yourself is crucial. If you are scared, you are not alone; It is scary!  But there are resources meant to protect you, and it’s time to take advantage of them.  Checkout the latest FREE Cybersecurity Webinars being offered by Applied Integration.  Trust me, the time to act BEFORE the bad news hit you.

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