More than a quarter of business owners in a variety of industries claimed they had been the victim of a cyber attack, according to a survey by Neustar. Rates of attacks differed across industries, with the telecom industry receiving the highest volume of attacks at 45 percent and the retail industry receiving the lowest volume of attacks at only 16 percent. Businesses in the travel, finance, and IT industries reported that between 28 and 32 percent had experienced at least one cyber attack.
The financial toll of a cyber attack varies, but Mashable.com reports that it can cost business owners up to $100,000 per hour. The amount of revenue that you lose each hour depends on whether you are an e-retailer who relies primarily on website sales or a business owner with a brick and mortar location. While only 13 percent of retailers claim that they lose $100,000 per hour, nearly two-thirds of business owners claim that they lose $10,000 per hour. Whether you are losing cash or data, a cyber attack can be disastrous, but with a few useful tools in place, you can easily thwart would be attackers or at least alleviate the damage they can cause.
Back Up Everything
When you or an employee hits the save button, you need to make sure that that information is saved on more than just that single device. You can backup your data to a local hard drive, or the Small Business Administration advises, use a cloud-based backup service like DropBox or Symantec. In addition to providing you with an extra level of protection, programs like these allow you to sync all of your files between devices and easily send information from employee to employee.
Implement Clear Security Rules
Before letting your employees loose on a cloud, ensure that they have been well trained in the area of mobile security. A shared Wi-Fi connection is more than just a convenience, it is a vehicle through which attackers can pilfer your data, your passwords, and your banking information.
Train your employees to understand the importance of using encrypted sites while on shared Wi-Fi. If possible, safeguard all of your sites with two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication, a cyber criminal may be able to steal one password, but he won’t be able to access your data unless he gets the second one. These are also critical points to consider if you have a BYOD (bring your own device) program. To safeguard your BYOD program, consider buying software that allows your employees to switch between home and work modes on their personal devices.
Unfortunately, even the most cautious companies can sometime become the victim of a cyber attack. If you are hit by one, there are steps you can take to minimize your damage. Companies like Life Lock offer credit monitoring and repair, and can alert you to a security breach even before you realize you are in danger. Although you can use credit repair services after an attack, it is better to use these types of service preemptively as they can help to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.