What Small Businesses Should Know about the 2013 Verizon Data Breach Report

Television shows make hackers lives seem so exciting and lucrative. Most small business owners believe that hackers only go after the really big fish in an efforts to rake in big rewards for their efforts. However, most hackers look for the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, small businesses often make attractive, not to mention lucrative, targets for hackers.

The 2012 Verizon report on data breaches reveals that 71 percent of the 855 data breaches recorded in 2012 happened to businesses that have less than 100 employees. The 2013 report indicates these numbers only increasing.

What Information are Hackers Targeting?

That 2013 Data Breach report indicates that 75 percent of all data breaches are fiscally motivated. This means that 7.5 times out of ten, hackers are looking for a financial reward for their hacking efforts.

State-affiliated espionage holds a spot of honor in second place accounting for 20 percent of all data breaches. These breach activities include cyber threats, trade secrets, intellectual property theft, and the theft of classified information in order to further national interests.

What Can Small Businesses Do to Protect Sensitive Information?

It’s not enough to hide important financial, trade secrets, and customer data in the cloud in the hopes it will be protected there. Recent reports on Forbes.com reveal that there have been serious breaches of cloud services exposing sensitive data, such as medical records. Follow these steps to avoid making your small business a rich target for hackers.

1)   Avoid Similar Passwords. Most businesses have blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. Each account needs a vastly different password in order to keep sensitive information protected and to avoid a domino effect if one account happens to get hacked. Consider investing in a password program, such as LastPass that helps you create unique passwords that are more secure than what you may come up with if left to your own devices.

2)   Create company policies about employee passwords. As part of password protection best practices, require employees to create unique passwords periodically and do not allow them to use passwords too similar to previous passwords.

3)   Backup vital information regularly and test the backup/restore system frequently to make sure it’s working properly.

4)   Choose wisely when choosing offsite or cloud data storage. The best price isn’t always the best service. Making sure your information is protected is critical.

5)   Invest in Cyber Liability Insurance for your business. You never know when trouble is going to strike and how much exposure your business will have when it does. Protect yourself now so that your business is better positioned to weather the storm when and if breaches occur.

With so many cyber concerns it’s important to take steps now to prevent potential problems. These great steps will go a long towards helping you protect your small business from cyber security threats.