According to a report by the Australian government’s Institute of Criminology, the estimated loss to various business sectors in Australia includes:
- $233m per year due to the piracy and counterfeiting of films (LEK 2006)
- $677m of lost sales, in 2002, in the Australian toy, software and video games industry. This includes $445.7m lost sales in the business software industry (Allen 2003) xiv Intellectual property crime and enforcement in Australia
- $515m in absolute losses in software piracy in 2006 (BSA & IDC 2006)
- $45m per year as the cost to Australian subscription television industry (ASTRA 2006a)
- $300m per year in breaches of trade mark as losses to the textile, clothing and footwear industry (ACAG 2000)
It is a massive and growing problem across the Australian business environment and affects all types and sizes of businesses. It is also important to ensure your team is satisfied, so a small gift such as a custom promotional pens can change the atmosphere and its a touch of free marketing for your company.
Often, companies are a victim of their own success. This seems counterintuitive, but SEO marketing is so effective that it can snowball into an unmanageable quagmire unless the growth is handled properly. Uncontrolled scaling can lead to chinks in your data armour.
Search marketing services for technology companies is an area of particular concern because of the high value of intellectual property involved, and the relative ease with which data can be stolen without proper protections in place.
Many search marketing services ignore security or look upon it as an afterthought because it involves a cost and takes effort to instigate and maintain. Leaving your business open to any kind of hack or vulnerability is both shortsighted and irresponsible.
There are so many ways in which you can protect your SEO marketing business easily and inexpensively. There are numerous data protection and security companies out there with world-class solutions to locking down your information and personal data – there’s really no excuse for not making sure you have covered most of the bases.
Any good agency that deals with digital marketing for technology companies will be on top of these issues and able to help you secure your tech. To ensure their knowledge is up to date, investing in an executive coaching course can be extremely beneficial.
Using ethical hackers to find the most common vulnerabilities is one of the most cost-effective and accurate ways to find out where to fence off your electronic signature.
There are only two main areas your information can leak from. The first is external – threats like phishing attacks, hacks and malware being planted.
The second is internal. People being able to access areas they shouldn’t, to see data they have no place knowing. The security of passwords and documents, spreadsheets and photographs is always a massive vulnerability.
Many companies take their physical security – door locking systems, internal CCTV, and biometric scanners more seriously than they do their cyber security.
Here’s a quick checklist of some relatively easy steps you can make to look after your business security:
- Do a manual check of financials – if you never dealt with a supplier or contractor before, or you’ve changed banks or loan providers, double check all the details manually before you make any payments. Physically call them on the telephone. Don’t rely on email and message systems like Slack.
- Make sure your network is secure – look into using VPNs with 2FA for remote access to your systems. Use web proxies and firewalls to control access to your business network.
- Use anti-virus and other security software across all the devices used in your business. Malicious software (or malware) costs time and money to remove and can do considerable damage until wiped.
- Collect only the data you need to – if you store information on people your data is always at risk – others may want to steal this information (credit card details, dates of birth etc.) Do you really need to store them and open yourself to the risks?
- Review your cloud service providers – If you go cloud-based, you will be completely reliant on their security and their provision of backups. Check, and make sure these aspects are covered. They should have 2FA and excellent security policies for all your data.
- Don’t use the default passwords – unbelievably, thousands of businesses never alter the passwords their hardware and software come with. Make sure that you don’t fall for this. Change all the passwords on your systems regularly – consider software like Last Pass to manage passwords securely.
- Sort out a disaster plan – Don’t leave it to chance. Plan with your staff for a cyber attack or data theft or loss. Have a disaster recovery plan In place that everyone can refer to and is familiar with, in advance.
- Use a system of logs – logs are a simple way of spotting something out of the ordinary, unusual activity, or patterns of behaviour. They can also be valuable points of reference for times and dates when things go wrong. Familiarise your staff with their use and insist they use them.
- Back your data up regularly – a simple thing which is neglected so often. Having a back-up plan should be part of your ongoing data protection. Losing data is a nightmare for any business. Just back it up.
- Make good use of 2FA – two factor authentication is an innovation which has saved countless businesses from disaster. Just having a username and password is no longer enough. Ensure that you have an extra level of security in place for anyone accessing any of your data.
- Regularly update your software – they update software for a reason. The most common being a security vulnerability. Leaving old versions of software on your systems allows hackers and malware a window they can climb through. Shut them out – update your software regularly.
All the items on this checklist are easy fixes and an IT managed services company can certainly be helpful. Each one, on its own, will make a difference. Cumulatively though, implementing all the recommendations will eliminate 90% of your risk and allow you the peace of mind to just get on with running your business.
Online threats are multiplying on a daily basis and as a business owner you need to be hyper aware of not just the threats – but the devastating effects that a data loss could have on your business and the livelihoods of the people who work for you and with you.