Sunday’s June 28, 2015 The Record business section highlighted how smaller companies are seeking cybersecurity – commenting that “Hackers prey on little businesses, too”.

The Record article on NJ Cyber SecurityThis follows several articles published by warning of hacker attacks. Most recently, our article of June 8, 2015 discussed the December 2015 data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), impacting potentially 4 million people. On May 8, 2015 cited health care data breaches spiking  an all-time high – with the #1 root cause of data breaches being criminal hacking, according to an annual Ponemon Institute study. We warned of unsecured server exposures, as demonstrated by Hillary Clinton’s actions, in our March 12, 2015 published article. Consistent with powersolution’s “fair and balanced” stance, we equally discussed the lack of adequate e-mail monitoring, management, and policies in the state of New Jersey, under Governor Chris Christie’s watch. Our January 8, 2015 article similarly discussed past small business hacker attacks in New Jersey and the continued risks going forward.

Sunday’s The Record discussed a small mechanical services company in Pittsburgh that was hacked – enabling the Target breach of 2013, which compromised information from 40 million customer credit cards. The article also identified numerous breaches that have occurred in New Jersey where sensitive information such as names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates were stolen.

The press article summarized comments made last week by the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at a cybersecurity conference held in Wayne, NJ – emphasizing the growing risks and financial liabilities for smaller companies associated with computer hacking. An enterprise security expert from Hewlett Packard indicated that, on average, it takes 240 days for companies, including smaller ones, to discover, that they have been breached.

The article quoted a partner from Connel Folley LLP in Roseland, NJ, saying “It’s not will you get breached, it’s when”. Similarly, in powersolution’s January 8, 2015 article, we stated “Unfortunately, actual reported events show the “when” of computer attacks against small businesses in New Jersey is today, rather than the future”.

The Record went on to list several ways to avoid hacking; we can add a few more. While following these steps alone will not guarantee your business to avoid hacking, it will certainly minimize the risk.

10 steps to minimizing the risk of hacking

  1. Have proper privacy and security policy in place
  2. Educate your employees on importance of security; require adherence to the security policies.
  3. Lock up paper files, flash drives, and CDs with sensitive data.
  4. Enforce strict ID/password policies, including encryption.
  5. Use antivirus and ant-spyware software; only open e-mail attachments/downloads from trusted sources.
  6. Install security “patches”, which address security vulnerabilities, on a timely basis.
  7. Enable appropriate firewall protection.
  8. Properly protect Wi-Fi networks, including encryption.
  9. Ensure third parties that have access to your data have proper protection practices.
  10. Consider having cybersecurity insurance.

Businesses should not underestimate the importance of professional data and network security measures, backup and recovery protocols, as well as having proper policies, especially when identity-sensitive data is being involved.

Small Businesses can prevent data, password, and credit card theft, computer malware and viruses, e-mail scams, and phishing, among other cyber security threats.

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