Last Updated: Oct 23, 2015
Cyber criminals wouldn’t try to hack your small business, right? Wrong – and if your business does become the victim of a cyber attack, so will your customers. Here’s why you should be concerned about cyber security no matter how small your business is.
At the moment, almost nothing seems secure. Cyber security is a huge issue right now. The Black Hat hacker conference starts in early August in Las Vegas with big announcements coming from the automotive industry and cyber security on the tips of nearly everyone’s tongue. Right now, cyber security is huge. And it looks like it will only get bigger.
I’ve had at least 20 topics or news stories come through on Facebook in just the past two days. Hackers attacking the latest version of Windows. Hackers attacking Chrysler vehicles. Hackers overtaking the transmission in a vehicle 10 miles away and also forcing the driver to listen to only Kanye West songs. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. And in the past couple of years we’ve seen demonstrations of ATM machines being hacked to spew out hundreds of dollars, smartphones being cloned from a distance, and pacemakers and insulin pumps being commandeered from 50 feet away.
It’s crazy and it’s dangerous, and that doesn’t even touch the millions of credit card holders affected by hacks on some of the big box stores and the millions of government employees whose identities were stolen last month by hackers in foreign countries. Yes, what’s this world coming to? I’m not sure, but burying your head in the sand won’t help. Here’s why you should care:
It can happen to you – and your clients. You can easily end up a victim even if you just don’t believe it can happen to you. But guess what? You have customers. So if it happens to you, then it happens to them. And they will know it’s because it happened to you. Meaning, in their eyes, you let it happen. Ouch. Few things will cause you to lose customers faster than giving away their personal information. I know you didn’t give it away, but you didn’t fully protect it either.
It’s in the news everywhere. Now is the best time and most important time to care. If you think the concept of copycat crimes is crazy then you are in complete denial. It’s a lonely deep web person’s 15 minutes of fame. They steal your stuff and they’ve accomplished something cool. So you should care because as more of those sad individuals are successful and gaining publicity for it, more will do it. But on the flip side, that also means more individuals and organizations will be rising on the side of good to help you do something about it. Be careful as you weed through the potential solution providers – Joe doing it out of his basement still might be on the side of wrong. And it will never be perfect. Just as a hole in security is being patched, someone is working very hard to get past it.
It’s a matter of trust. It boils down to how much do you value your clients and how much does your business mean to you? You work hard to build a reputation, a client base, and a business that consistently delivers to your valued customers. It’s hard work – no doubt about it. It’s not luck. Something may happen that gains you exposure and customers quickly like an article or an award from a local survey of you and your competition. But that doesn’t mean you were an overnight success – I’m sure that concept would make you laugh. Business shooting up overnight after you’ve sweated over it for 20 years says it was neither luck nor overnight success. However, one good security breach that compromises your service or your customers’ confidence and trust can bring your business down very quickly. It would be nice to blame it on a stroke of bad luck, but the real reason would be your own failure to act in advance on the risk of a cyber security breach. Bad luck? No, not really. Just poor planning.
So, should you be worried about security? Absolutely. Are you going to do something about it? I hope so. Personally, I’m just about as bad as everyone else who thinks it won’t happen to them. But recent developments have made me re-think the entire security concept, and I don’t have sensitive customer data stored anywhere. Do something about it – the time is now. You haven’t been affected yet. Keep it that way.
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Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author of A Real World Project Manager’s Guide to the Successful Project. He has over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at www.bradegeland.com.