We all know that an unhealthy or unsafe environment can affect our well-being. But what if that goes for the security of your technology too? For business owners like me at Emergentz Technologies, we manage external threats with things like security systems and door locks. But the one thing that isn’t always a priority is what we let into our business or home through that always-open window called a computer.
Computers and the internet are everywhere at home and at work. That little box on your desk can cost you large amounts of money if not taken seriously. A business can be tremendously handicapped or worse by just clicking a bad email link. There are now so many different types of cyber-attacks via the Internet, there are too many to list. And on top of this, some countries even sponsor these criminal enterprises that target businesses and wealthy individuals. These bad actors are intelligent, trained, and highly productive, and they know how to capitalize on your weaknesses.
If you weren’t stressed prior to reading this, you probably are now. Sorry about that, but these threats really exist and can cause lots of personal and business issues. Time, money, and loss of data are the most prevalent problems thanks to schemes like ransomware, phishing, spyware, and malware. This doesn’t even include local computer issues like computer worms, viruses, and those wonderful trojans. We think this will never happen to us, but it only takes one misstep. Cyber security is very similar to physical security: it’s not needed until it is.
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are targeted in nearly 43% of cyber-attacks, but only 14% are equipped to handle such attacks. Over 90% of the successful attacks are caused by human error that either directly compromised the business or left a “window” open for the hackers to climb through. These breaches required SMBs to spend anywhere between $826 on the low end to upwards of $650,000, per incident, to correct. The average cost is somewhere around $50,000 and usually, the business loses data, customers, and/or employees due to the breach. Not to mention that while a bad actor could return your account access or data after payment, there are no guarantees and they may just disappear or demand more after handing over the money. Year after year, these attacks are not slowing down — they’re multiplying.
Circling back to similarities between personal health and technology health, both are important and somewhat dependent on each other. Stress on our bodies can be extremely harmful and can cause many other issues within our personal and business lives. If you are blissfully unaware sitting back with rose-colored glasses thinking that this will never happen to you, you may be right. But if you aren’t, these issues could put you out of business and give you long-term health problems to deal with too.
Just like the human body, computers can catch viruses and worms, which have the propensity to cause the same symptoms and issues. Anti-virus software, or AV, has the ability to look for these “infections” and quarantine them. They work like penicillin or vaccines: AV targets locations where these pests attack and put them into a container that renders them harmless, or it catches them when they enter the system and shuts them down before they cause any damage.
The light at the end of the tunnel is really quite simple and not overly expensive. A quality provider should be able to put together a cyber-security solution for well under $1 a day per user. This solution should include an anti-virus for the computer, a monitoring solution for the anti-virus and general health for the computer, email security, and an internet safety application. All are available for your business and your home.
So as we start this new year thinking about healthy habits for our body, let’s remember that we need to keep our technology safe to keep our homes and businesses healthy too.
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