What should I know about Cybersecurity?
News of data breaches typically involve big-name companies, like Home Depot and Target, leading to the assumption that cybersecurity issues are only a concern for larger businesses. In reality, data breaches and cybersecurity should be a concern for all business owners, not just people who work for large companies or in the tech industry.
The goal of hackers is to obtain sensitive, personal data they can sell or manipulate for a profit. As a result, there's no reason to think they would avoid small- to medium-sized businesses, considering that they typically have fewer resources to devote to cybersecurity and protection in general.
Additionally, as more and more industries find their hardware and equipment connected to the internet, it’s likely the spread of cybersecurity breaches to non-tech industries will only increase.
“Industrial players are often among the last to adopt new technologies, since they tend to focus on their output,” says John Smithey, Connectivity Manager at Quincy Compressor. The compressed air industry is one of many that has found itself adapting to connected software programs, which can improve equipment monitoring efficiency. “However, we think it’s important for front-line operations managers to partner with a trusted and technologically advanced supplier who can shoulder the burden of data management and monitoring.”
“For example, when it comes to the compressed air system, our teams evaluate production trends, maintenance anomalies and can predict system interruptions,” Smithey says. “Customers want to focus on their output, not data analysis or the security of their online equipment. We take the pressure off so they can concentrate on doing what they do best.”
So while outsourcing your information security to a team that knows the ins and outs your industry is one option, there are lots of others that can be used simultaneously.
Many hackers hone in on smaller businesses not in the tech industry, assuming their lack of proximity to technical expertise makes their systems ripe for hacking. As a result, all business owners should be aware of the four cybersecurity tips below:
1. Run Routine Checkups
In a perfect world, technology will run without a hitch and notify you when end-of-life for the tech is near. In reality, machines and systems can become inoperable overnight from a single bug, which can open up a business to hackers.
One way to help combat this is to have a routine checkup of company networks and technology, which can aid in finding vulnerabilities. A business's credit card system is especially important to run routine checks on, since even larger businesses are victim to breaches involving malicious software running in the background of networks and machines.
If your customers' credit card data gets out, you can bet they will lose trust in the business, even if divulging the information was not intentional at all.
When it comes to personal information like credit card data, consumers are rightfully serious about keeping it safe. As a result, pricey checkups on machines and networks within a business can be worth it, both by avoiding hackers and a PR nightmare.
2. Do Not Store Unnecessary Information
One of the easiest and most effective tips for preventing cybersecurity mishaps is only to store data that's relevant to day-to-day operations. Although some businesses have good reason to request data like Social Security and driver's license numbers, there's no need to store this data once the consumer's identity is verifiable and their account is open.
Data like credit card information may still be necessary to store, due to things like recurring payments, though not storing personal information beyond that can cause difficulty for hackers.
3. Consider Cybersecurity Protocols An Insurance Policy
Cybersecurity checks and precautions can add up. Something like a fire or natural disaster can wreak similar havoc, though there’s often no blinking at paying for that type of insurance.
As a result, businesses should perceive cybersecurity costs as a similar insurance policy.
4. Limit Employee Access To Sensitive Data
Inside jobs are a major threat to business cybersecurity. Employees in a financial rut may seek further income by stealing personal information they have access to.
Alternatively, a hacker may enlist a present employee and split profits with them. Regardless, inside jobs are a concern that businesses can prevent by limiting employee access to sensitive data. AT&T’s customer information breach in 2014 was partly due to internal employees committing data theft, so if an inside job can happen to a huge company, it can happen to a smaller one as well.
Businesses of all sizes can effectively reduce the chances of a cybersecurity attack with these four tips.
Since cybersecurity concerns are relevant to a business regardless of its size or niche, proper precautions should always be a priority.
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