Three basic steps towards a safer business online

Easy money is what cyber criminals look for - don't be an easy target!

Author: Eija Paajanen
Date: 11.05.2015
Read Time: 3 Minutes

If a 7-year old can hack into a public Wi-Fi network in less than 11 minutes, how easy is it for professional criminals?

Experts predict that the attacks on public networks are on the rise. Hackers can even force users to switch from a legitimate network to a fake one without the user being any the wiser. Since mobile phones can contain a lot of sensitive business data, this immediately puts your business at risk.

In the aftermath of some big incidents both in real-life security and online attacks, the topic of cybercrime currently gets much more attention. In an effort to stymie cybercrime attacks, President Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron recently announced a joint cyber games war test.

And even if the big attacks on the big players, such as the Sony case, or, on a more local scale, the wide Ddos attacts against Finnish banks get the majority of public attention, smaller businesses are far from safe. On the contrary, since small business protection is often weak and they often do not have even the primary precautions in place, they are easy targets. And easy money is what criminals look for.

Smaller businesses are also more vulnerable to the after-effects of a security breach. With no huge IT department to help out in fixing the damage, it can take a lot of time to recover. Not to mention what the loss of trust with your partners could mean. The worst case scenario – it could end your business.

There are, however, some easy steps that a small business owner can take. The Guardian’s article on small business security gives the following advice:

  1. First, make sure employees aren’t accessing the wrong kind of websites. Research shows approximately 80% of security-related incidents occur as a result of employee behavior.
  2. Small-business owners should also scrutinize their vendors. Analyze your vendors to make sure are they complying with your privacy and security policies.
  3. The final piece is cybersecurity insurance. Cyber-liability protection has been around for about a decade, but insurance companies have become better at identifying risks and are able to underwrite against those risks.

Scott V Lockman, director of commercial insurance for insurance provider Clements Worldwide says:

You should ask the following questions: How much does the firm use the Internet? How much information is being stored on it? How are they communicating with their clients? What does that risk mean to them in terms of potential loss?

Just this evaluation, and acting on it accordingly, can save your company from a lot of attacks that are based on opportunity. Once the risks are evaluated, you can find the suitable business security software or partner to cover your needs.

In the “Security for startups” article David Cowan from Bessemer Venture Partners gives advice to startups:

A good point to remember is also the fact that adopting strong security practices is much easier to do when a company is young, while they still enjoy a small attack surface and a manageable number of devices to track.

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