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By Keith Marchiano I’ve been consulting and strategizing with small-business owners for the last 12 years when it comes to their business and technology. Although security issues and cyber attacks are nothing new for small businesses, it still amazes me when I meet a business owner or executive for the first time and find that their security defenses are weak. The chances of a small business being penetrated, having computers, smartphones, tablets and even bank accounts hacked because of poor cyber security, are rapidly growing. And some of the very things that small businesses are encouraged to do to make themselves more visible, like having blogs, can also make them more vulnerable. I will never forget a new client I had in 2010. They were a minuscule golf club that had about 20 computers with one primary network server. While consulting with the executive director of the club, he agreed to have us to do a network risk assessment, which I provided to him at no charge. During that discovery phase, I found that his firewall was out of warranty, support, and had no intrusion/gateway protection. His server was also about six years old and needed a refresh. They agreed, as a result of my analysis, to upgrade their server and firewall. Here’s where the story gets interesting. The day we came onsite to begin the work, as my engineer and I were starting to prepare for the upgrade, two gentlemen in dark-blue suits came into the golf club asking to speak to the executive director. Five minutes later I was being requested to come into his office. These two men were federal agents, and the golf club had been hacked by on outside entity that was hosting a fraudulent sports jersey site on their server. Needless to say, the executive director was in shock. This fraudulent website had been active for three months, ripping off unsuspecting buyers who ordered sports jerseys they would never receive. The federal agents asked for us to wait one week before putting in the new security appliances for them to determine if they could find the source of the hackers. The hackers were never discovered because they were based outside of the U.S. This is not as uncommon as you would think. Here is a recent article I read, where something very similar happened to a company in New York. So, a small golf club in a small suburb in Maryland had become an illegal online store! Experiencing this event has led me to be laser-focused on solving security gaps within small businesses. It still amazes me when I meet potential clients and assess security risks and exposures in their network. Today there’s more business-killing ransomware and malware than ever before. This article discusses many situations that small businesses encounter, and the loss of revenue, profits, employee efficiency, and stress they experience due to not having the proper security. Here are some resources you can reference to protect your company from ransomware and how to avoid becoming a victim. Keeping your company’s computers and online sites safe isn’t a one-time operation, but requires continual vigilance as new kinds of attacks emerge. Can you guarantee that your business is safe from cyber attacks?  Contact Kyocera Intelligence and schedule your Complementary Network Risk Assessment to make sure it is.  You can reach us at (800) 875-8843 or itsolutions@kimidatlantic.com Protect your valuable data and the reputation of your small business.]]>