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No Business is Too Small for Hackers!

By Elliot Anderson  |  October 18, 2023

It's National Small Business Week! Let's celebrate the hard work you do and make sure your business continues to grow.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if your business is affected by a data breach?

We constantly hear in the news about well-known brands being breached. You watch the news and you may think to yourself “Oh that would never happen to me… The big guys are the easy targets for hackers.”

In a way, hackers do love going after “The Big Guys” since the bigger the company, the more credit card information they have, hence more money for the hackers to go after.

The reality is that the easiest targets for hackers are small businesses.

Big corporate brands have a whole IT team working to make their networks secure, so it makes it much harder for a hacker. Yet, as we have seen, many times they still manage to get in.

So imagine just how quickly a hacker can get into multiple networks of small businesses since small businesses tend to not have an IT staff monitoring their network activity.

Easy target, right?

Do you ever hear the news about the small restaurant down the street that got breached?

Not really, but just because it isn’t front page worthy does not mean that small businesses aren’t getting breached as well. They are just not making the headlines in the news.

The sad truth is that a breach will hurt a small business and its reputation.

According to First Data Market Insight, $36,000 is the average cost of a data breach for small businesses.

Could you imagine the effects that it will take on your profits? What about your customers?

You may not make it in the news, but your customers will find out. On top of the costs of a data breach, your regular customers may stop shopping or dining at your store or restaurant.

In fact, 31% of customers have terminated their relationship with a business after being breached.

Check out the following measures you must take to prevent a data breach.

Here’s a little more explanation on each:

  • 1. Maintain a strong firewall

    The PCI data security standards prescribe firewalls for compliance. A managed firewall is the first and most important line of defense for your network.

  • 2. Conduct regular scans of your network

    The best way to determine if your systems have been compromised is to scan them regularly for vulnerabilities.

    For relatively low annual fees, a security vendor will remotely scan all of your external systems access points to determine if any are vulnerable to intrusion.

  • 3. Limit remote access

    Many restaurants leave their firewalls open to outside entry by managers working remotely or vendors who routinely perform maintenance on systems.

    Create strong passwords instead of using the default codes, and change them often.

    Similarly, always change default firewall settings to allow only essential access, and limit remote access to secure methods such as VPN.

  • 4. Ensure all credit card data is encrypted

    If you have older POS equipment that sends raw credit card data to a back-office server, it may be time to upgrade.

    Modern, secure POS systems encrypt credit card data as soon as a card is swiped, and they immediately send that data to the payment processor without temporarily storing data.

    Double-check your POS system to make sure it complies with PCI standards.

  • 5. Segment your network

    For example, make sure your POS data traffic is separate from your Wi-Fi, security cameras, digital menu boards and other connections.

    If you want to enable managers to connect to the POS via Wi-Fi, connect them through a virtual LAN that separates authorized traffic into a security zone.

Sounds like adding a lot more duties on your plate?

Luckily, you can always outsource these duties to a specialized team whose main job is pretty much all of the above and more.

The cost of a data breach will always be higher than the cost of protecting your business. When it comes to protecting your business, Netsurion knows that many small businesses do not have the IT staff needed to make sure your network is secure.

Hence, we take care of security, so you can take care of your business and customers.

By Elliot Anderson
No Business is Too Small for Hackers!

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