At the 2018 Propelify Innovation Festival Burt Powers, Senior Director at Dell EMC, and Kevin Robinson, the Founder of Juniper Jones, talked about one of the most pressing issues facing small business owners today: data privacy. In a world where half of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. have had a cyber breach, data privacy is now more important than ever. However, many small businesses fail to consider their own cyber security plan, mistakenly believing attackers only go after the big guys. Wrong. Today, two-thirds of all cyber attacks are now directed at small businesses.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s time to take three critical steps to protect your data, your privacy, and your bottom line.
“I always make the comparison, if you’re a homeowner you have three elements to your home protection,” said Robinson. “You lock your doors, you have an alarm system, and you have insurance. Think about your privacy as a business owner just like that: secure access, threat prevention, and insurance.”
Secure access is the first defense against cyber attacks. In its most simple form, secure access looks like a username and password to log in to a program or your computer. Beyond that, Robinson recommends taking a few more actions to protect your data.
“You want a TPM, or a Trusted Platform Module, to give you an extra layer of hardware security on what is traditionally a software approach,” Robinson said. “And if you’re working at a public place, like a coffee shop, always use Timelock, a program that allows you protect your computer against unwanted use in public places.”
Another good tactic? Always make sure to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in public places to ensure you’re working in a safe cyber environment and to guarantee others can’t see your activity.
“A VPN creates a shield between you and others,” said Robinson.
In addition to the threat of viruses, malware, and spyware, ransomware has become a huge issue for data privacy. Ransomware is a malicious software that threatens to publish your data or perpetually block access to your data, until a ransom is paid. Ransoms can be anywhere from $200 to $1000 to $10,00.
Sound scary? It is. Especially for small business owners.
“If we look at the stats, for small businesses a loss of data can cost anywhere from $84,000 to $150,000 in loss, which many companies can’t recover from,” said Robinson. “We also know that major data losses lead to approximately half of small businesses going out of business.”
An easy way to protect yourself from viruses, malware, and ransomware scams? Use a program like McAfee to safeguard and protect your data, so you don’t ever have to worry or think about your protection after the installation.
The final piece to a solid data privacy protection plan is to create a recovery plan in case you experience a cyber breach or a natural disaster, like a fire, earthquake, or flood. Robinson recommended two key techniques to protect data. First, consider a cloud-based option, like Mozy, so you can both back-up data and quickly retrieve information after a security breach or disaster.
Second, invest in a hardware option, like an external hard drive, to have another option of storing and protecting data. Just be sure to move the drive away from your work space or take it home with you, so it’s actually a backup!
As a small business owner, it’s imperative to make and enact a plan to protect your data privacy – today.
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