You are about to be hacked! Oh, I don’t mean right this moment. But it is inevitable that at some point in the near future, someone is going to slip some malware on your system that causes your computer to do things you didn’t expect, for the benefit and profit of someone else. The bad news is that there is precious little you can do about it. The good news is that “precious little” is a hair north of nothing at all.
If you think I am being overly dramatic, the fact is, you’ve already been hacked multiple times since you have been a computer user. In that light, the fact that you are going to be hacked again should not be that shocking. The only thing you can do is try to reduce your hackability profile. The first thing to do is realize that even though they do not know about you, personally, the bad guys really are out to get you. Now that you know that, here’s what you should do next:
Get Professional Help
No matter how small your small business is, you are being attacked right now. You have information that someone else believes they can use for exploitation. And they have the technology to take it. If you are not an expert with regard to data protection, you need to work with someone who is.
There are companies all over the world to whom you can outsource these types of IT issues. If you happen to be in Ottawa, Firewall Technical may be a familiar name to you. Speaking for the entire industry, the company says:
Managed services allow businesses to transfer the burden of particular IT operations to an external service provider. They provide technical services to assess, maintain and improve their client’s IT infrastructure. As such, managed service providers oversee preventative and ongoing IT maintenance as well as critical monitoring and management for specified IT operations. Such a provider is also responsible for resolving any IT issues that may arise.
Letting a trusted expert manage your IT security is the single most comprehensive thing you can do. But there are still other measures that need to be taken.
Monitor Your People
First, you have to hire the right people. Even then, the occasional bad egg slips through. In some of the more high-profile security breaches, inside jobs were suspected. Remember that Target breach affecting 40 million people? That was believed to be an inside job. There has to be a limit to employee access of key systems and critical information. There is also the matter of curtailing access to third-party contractors and vendors.
The U.S. Commerce Department estimates 30% of business failures are due to employee theft. Many of the suggested ways to reduce employee theft are also applicable to data theft. Just note that your greatest risk of being hacked comes from inside the company.
Take Threats More Seriously
Some of the most high-profile hacks happen to companies that knew about the threats prior to the time of the attack. That’s what makes the stories so tragic. It is not just that the companies were hacked. But that they could have prevented it had they taken the threat more seriously. That seems to be the case with the latest IRS hacks. It is not just that 600,000 taxpayers had their personal information exposed by hackers, but that the IRS was aware of the threat.
Prepare for Future Threats
It seems businesses are caught completely off guard by today’s exploits that started out as yesterday’s threats. They never seem to be making an effort to get ahead of what’s coming tomorrow. Here’s a heads-up: tomorrow’s exploits will come from drones that can steal data while hovering above your office. Get your counter-measures ready today.
If you are going to keep your networks open for business and safe from hackers, you have to get professional help, monitor your people, take threats more seriously, and prepare for future threats. Even then, there is no such thing as being completely safe from hackers.