Protect Your Greatest Assets

by Amanda Klein, Commerce Bank

Can your business identify a security breach within 24 hours?

Getting hacked is a nightmare scenario that is, unfortunately, becoming more and more commonplace. Furthermore, many small businesses are ill-equipped to deal with such attacks—and the longer a breach goes undetected, the more harm the attacker can do and the costlier the breach can become. Considering that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million (according to a 2018 study by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute), such a breach can be devastating and must be caught immediately.

Don’t fall into the line of thinking that you aren’t big enough to be targeted. An alarming 60 percent of all cyber-attacks are centered on small businesses. And with fewer resources to help cushion the blow, setting up a proper line of defense is critical to avoid detrimental damage to your brand—or perhaps even going out of business. 

By following the points outlined below, you’ll be prepared to handle a cyber threat quickly, effectively and perhaps most importantly, proactively. Dealing with incidents “as they come,” on the other hand, will leave you unable to effectively deal with a breach before it causes irreparable damage.

  • Develop a plan. The key is to be specific. Focus on what to do in different circumstances (malware, phishing, SQL injection, etc.). Creating a specific plan for each type of threat will help speed up your response and resolution time, as well as mitigate damage.
  • Test the plan. In addition to problems that you’re familiar with, consider those you’ve never had to face before.
  • Keep your plan updated. Even if you haven’t been attacked, remain diligent about refining your plan, as cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to access your data.
  • Ensure that you are PCI-compliant. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard is mandated for organizations that handle major credit cards. Businesses that handle cardholder data must be PCI-compliant—it’s required.

In the unfortunate event that your small business data does get hacked, your first step should be to notify your bank or processing partner. Acting quickly may be the difference between surviving and shutting your doors. iBi

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