Why Companies Suffer Without Strong IT Security

by Chris Rhatigan on Nov 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

IT security

You might not think about it much, but IT security is crucial to keep businesses running. When important data is compromised, it puts your whole business at risk.

Every once in a while, a major security breach makes the news. Companies lose millions of dollars or classified government information is leaked. The hackers are often in faraway places like Russia and North Korea. It’s easy to think that these attacks will only happen to the big players, never to your business.

But according to the Small Business Committee, 71% of cyber attacks are on businesses with under 100 employees. Hackers consider these businesses to be good targets. They lack the security larger firms provide but still possess valuable information.

 

The Risks for Your Business

The vast majority of small-to-medium businesses have reported that they have no security system in place. It’s possible that a disgruntled employee who already has access to the system will do damage to it. While it’s certainly plausible that someone could hack into the system, it’s more likely that an unwitting employee will download harmful software.

Another major security weakness is employee mobile devices, particularly when employees bring their own. While BYOD (bring your own device) policies are increasingly popular, they result in greater exposure to risk when employees access sensitive company data or neglect to change their passwords. Companies should make BYOD policies crystal clear and implement security systems to ensure that corporate networks can’t be accessed by just anyone.
 

What You Can Do

The Federal Communications Commission has a program called the Small Biz Cyber Planner that guides you through how to create a top-notch security system. Through asking a series of questions, the program helps provides solutions for devising a security system that will work for your business.

Another solution is to provide training to all employees on maintaining vigilance when it comes to IT security. Part of your employee onboarding process should take new hires through the reasons why they should never download questionable software. Employees should create unique passwords and change them regularly. Establish best practices in technology to avoid harmful attacks.

Companies are also layering their security systems. Experts recommend that security not be a “single event,” such as entering a log-in and password. Specialized security software is a quality investment for any size company looking for a robust defense against hackers. 

Cybersecurity will continue to be a major issue for businesses of every size. In fact, President Barack Obama called it “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” However, companies are becoming more transparent than ever before. Employees expect to know the inner-working of the businesses they’re part of. Companies will have to balance security with transparency if they want to compete in the marketplace.

 

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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.