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7 Quick Cyber Security Tips for SMB Business Owners

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From Fortune 500 companies to SMBs, everyone knows that technology changes constantly. Depending on your industry 18-24 months may be the lifespan of your technology.  Most SMB’s are quick to research price and performance details before the purchase of a new laptop, desktop, or server. We all want the most power and speed for the best deal. Makes sense right?

Security software and virus protection is a completely different story. Small and medium businesses typically buy anti-virus/malware protection by brand, reviews, and price. Most SMB’s have little real knowledge of how anti-virus software works or why it is or isn’t effective. Before that makes someone upset, it isn’t a swipe at small and medium business owners, it’s the reality of running a SMB. It’s impossible to be and know everything.” Sure, you want me to run sales, keep track of the books, oversee purchasing, and now I have to be a cyber security expert. No thanks!”

With that in mind here is a quick list of things to consider that might help when you are faced with cyber security decisions:

  1. Virus Protection needs to change with virus developments. Simply put, viruses, malware, and other malicious attacks are more sophisticated than they were five years ago. The same anti-virus (AV) protection you bought five years ago, even if you have kept it updated, might not be your best choice. There are changes going on in the virus protection world. The brands you bought that are household names may not be the best or only solutions you should consider. There are two primary schools of thought concerning AV at the moment. One is the traditional school that we have used for years (signature or definition based) and the other is (machine learning or artificial intelligence based). Simply put, signature based AV must allow the virus into your system to be able to identify it. Artificial Intelligence based systems seek to stop the virus at the end point by using an anomaly driven algorithm. Think reactive vs proactive.
  2. Cyber Security Training for everyone in your company is one of the best investments you will make this year. Cyber security training is proactive and affordable. 83% of phishing attacks are successful because employees do not recognize them. Simple module based on-line training systems have been proven to be effective and have an excellent ROI. Training is common sense. Consider it!
  3. Cyber Security Policies and Plans are a road map for your employees when it comes to cyber security. Adopt a standard cyber security policy handbook and require all employees and management staff to read and sign it. Every employee needs to know what to do if they think a breach has occurred. Policies like these are available as templates and may be customized to meet your specific needs.
  4. Remote Monitoring allows you to have a dashboard to see activity across your network. Keeping an eye on the health of your systems and network is a smart proactive way to stay on top of your I.T. infrastructure and security.
  5. Back-Ups are critical for every company. Back-up services are readily available for every size business. With the proliferation of ransomware attacks, backup solutions are an absolute necessity. Ransomware attacks encrypt your systems forcing you to pay to have your data released. Once infected you have no choice but to pay to get your files restored. If you have a current backup, you are protected. Back-ups are smart, proactive, and affordable.
  6. Data Breach Policies are a great buy at the moment. No cyber security plan is 100% effective. Insurance policies to protect you against the losses you incur as result of an attack are just smart business. Consider getting a quote for a data breach policy. Don’t be confused by thinking your general business insurance includes cyber protection. This is a separate policy specifically designed to cover you in the event of an attack. Now is the time to invest in a cyber breach policy. They are inexpensive and will give you peace of mind.
  7. Physical security and Cyber security are not separate issues. Your physical security assets are often connected to your network. CCTV cameras, biometric scanners, electronic gates and entry points etc. The list goes on and on. All of these devices are hackable and may be an entry point for an attack. Integrate your physical security with your cyber security.

Cyber-attacks are real and SMBs are under siege. Here are some bonus stats to consider while you are doing your cyber security research. At The Tek we know how hard you worked to build your business. We want to help you keep it. Don’t be the next victim.

  • Ransomware grew 115% in 2015  
  • 83% of breaches are caused by human error  
  • 59% of terminated employees steal proprietary corporate data  
  • 48% of cyber-attacks target small business  
  • 60% of small businesses go out of business 6 months after an attack  
  • 74% of small businesses reported a security breach last year  
  • 52.4% of spear-phishing attacks were directed at small businesses last year
  • Small businesses suffered losses in excess of $740 Million last year  
  • 430 million new types of malware flooded the internet in 2015  
  • Cyber-attacks on small business have increased by 1500% since 2000  
  • Only 38% of small businesses update software regularly  
  • Only 31% monitor business credit reports  
  • Only 22% encrypt databases  
  • 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised daily  
  • 68% of funds lost to a cyber-attack are unrecoverable  
  • It takes an average of 170-200 days to detect a malware attack

Don’t get caught off guard. Contact The Tek for a free physical and cyber facilities evaluation and risk assessment. 919.582.6212 or fill out our contact us form.


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