WHACC AM Learning Series – Technology
This AM series on August 27th featured guests Chris Howse, president of Howse Solutions LLC., and Michael Gray, Director of Sales and Marketing at TechnologyXperts, inc.. This dynamic technology roundtable discussion mainly focused around cyber security. This topic is always a concern when talking about technology, and our experts presented different security trends and a variety of tips to help improve your business’ cyber security.
The Big Trends
Both Chris and Michael agreed that there are two main trends in the area of cyber security. The first, is that hackers like to target small to mid-sized businesses because they often lack the resources to protect themselves. The Dark Web is becoming more malicious and people are staying up 24/7 figuring out how to take your money, data, and even web domains. The second trend is that businesses are being held accountable for instances of hacking. One example brought up in the discussion is what happened recently with the company Target. The Government is getting more strict with reproductions for businesses that collect personal client data and can become a big issue when breaches occur.
While this may seem scary, don’t worry. There are things you can do to protect yourself and your business. Below are tips to increase your business’ cyber security that Chris and Michael discussed during the roundtable.
Tips to Keep You Safe
- TRAINING!– Often times, the reason there is a breach in your cyber security is because of human error. If you or your employees don’t know what to look for, what are the key signs, then you don’t know what to avoid. Emails and hacking attempts are looking more and more like the real deal. Incorporate security training, get everyone on board, and keep your information safe.
- Get Help– Partner with a company that can help protect you. If technology is not your area of expertise or you have plenty of other things on your plate, find someone else who can take the lead. But remember, tell them everything! Always keep open communication with your tech security partner, they can only fix what they know the problem is. Even if it’s human error.
- Have a Plan– Be prepared if something does happen. Even if you have the infrastructure set in place, accidents happen. Look into cyber security insurance to help you rebuild after an attack. Also, keep multiple backup copies of your files and information in different locations away from the main system.
Working on a Budget
If you’re a small business or a nonprofit, your budget can often prevent you from having a secure cyber system. After being asked, Chris and Michael discussed a few ways that businesses on a budget can incorporate cyber security.
- Have Policy Procedures – Make sure that everyone knows what to do and how to do it. Where does information get stored? What needs to be protected? Andhow will it be protected?
- Avoid Mixing– Try to stay away from personal and work tech crossover. Don’t put sensitive client data on personal computers or other devices. There are places like Techsoup that work to bring affordable tech to nonprofits.
- Get on the Cloud– If it is impossible to separate work from home devices because of budget restraints, keep sensitive information on an encrypted cloud based server. This allows for some separation and introduces a level of security.
- Find a Good Tech Partner– Start conversations, there are tech companies out there that are willing to work with those on a budget. Some companies really want to help. If there is a good enough relationship, they may even find different means, donate, or help raise funds to integrate security.
The Key Takeaway
You have to protect your interests. Getting security and safeguarding your information doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to get the highest and the strongest security on the market, but you want to make sure that you do what you can. Hackers will go for the low hanging fruit and the places that are left completely unprotected. Having some protection in place is better than nothing and will often keep you safe.