Cyber Crime and Protecting your Small Business

Penny Belluz of TELECO offers strategies for safeguarding your information

Managing and growing a successful business requires owners and managers to wear many different hats. As technology continues to accelerate at an alarming pace, companies are forced to keep up. Social media presence (website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.), online invoicing and payments, online chat services, mobile workers and telecommuting, cloud services and on and on. These technology enhancements require businesses to either manage them internally or outsource to a credible technology company. As technology advances so, unfortunately, do cyber crimes, and it’s becoming more and more sophisticated daily. As a small business have you protected yourself?

Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. Some common types of attacks include infecting your system and network with malware to damage it or the software or data stored on it. It includes shutting down your system and demanding money to release it and credential attacks where cyber criminals steal or guess your user IDs and passwords to access confidential information.

As a small business, you may think that you are not a target when in reality you are more of a target. Cyber criminals are serious about

making money and love the fact that you may think your business is too small. They recognize that small businesses may lack the funds to put in place a solid cyber security solution to protect them and that you also may have the lack of resources available. You may think “Why Me?”, but cyber criminals will capitalize on these shortcomings and use it to their advantage to steal the information they need to then move on to larger clients.

They also recognize that small businesses often have inadequate network security training for their employee’s. Can your employee’s recognize a phishing email attempt? Phishing attacks have become very intelligent and can be disguised as something your employees are expecting. Maybe it’s an email with a resume for a job posting you have open, or a purchase order for a quote you have given a client or an email from a customer asking you to download an attachment. Some attempts are easy to spot, and some are not unless you know what you are looking for.

Password management is also super important to protect your business. Are your employees using their company email to shop on Amazon, log into Netflix and favourite apps like Pinterest? Are they using the same password over and over and is it something simple like their pets name or birthday? If so, this will put your business at risk. You cannot control another company’s website security. You have no control over how that website stores the passwords and emails and how they protect their database. If they experience a hack and your information is exposed, and it’s the same email and password that is used to access your network then you have now been compromised. It is likely that the compromised email and password are now for sale on the dark web.

It’s essential to play an active and responsible role in keeping your data and network secure. Partnering with a technology company that can provide you with employee security awareness training and education, continuous monitoring, network security risk reviews, monthly dark web monitoring and network vulnerability and security scans will make a difference in your business. Don’t be a victim of cyber crime. Educate yourself and your employees to reduce exposure and implement an effective cyber security strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about cyber crime and how it impacts small business, please watch for our cyber security breakfast coming this fall. Visit for more information.