A recent study conducted by Symantec found that small firms are especially vulnerable to data breaches. The main reason? Smaller companies tend to have less-advanced prevention and security measures in place than larger firms, making them easier targets for hackers and other cyber criminals.
Here's a look at the numbers revealed by the Symantec study, along with a brief analysis of what they mean for your business.
- 2012 saw a 42 percent boost in targeted cyber attacks.
- Of 2012's attacks, nearly a third (31 percent) hit small businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees).
- One particularly nefarious attack affected 500 organizations by infecting all visitors to a single website.
- Another cyber crime damaged 600,000 Macintosh computers.
- All told, web-based threats increased by 30 percent in 2012.
Risk Management: Disaster Recovery Plan + Data Breach Insurance
These days, the talk about data breaches assumes a "when" rather than an "if" mentality: in other words, insiders recommend operating with the assumption that your business will eventually be targeted and taking appropriate precautions. (See "Death and Taxes... And Data Breaches?" in our blog.)
And despite the volume of information about how to protect a business from cyber criminals, industry sources note that as many as 57 percent of small businesses lack a disaster recovery plan. Translation: more than half of small businesses have no strategy in place for when something goes awry.
To give your business its best possible odds of surviving a cyber attack, implement a two-pronged approach to security:
- Plan for the worst. Take time to think through what you'll do when a data breach hits your business. Your plan should include action steps for alerting clients, fixing security flaws, minimizing or reversing damage, and changing operating procedures as needed to prevent future problems. With a disaster plan in place, you'll be able to recover more quickly and with less stress when a data breach occurs.
- Implement diverse protection measures. To minimize the likelihood that you'll ever need to use your disaster recovery plan, put in place the standard protection measures you've likely read about countless times: strong passwords, firewalls, antivirus software, and Data Breach Insurance. These tools minimize the damage a hacker can do and (in the case of the insurance) ensure that you'll have adequate funds to cover any costs associated with the damage that does occur.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter