Understanding Your Risk
Everyone has information that they value, from your personal identity to financial and health information. Your level of risk of a cyber attack depends on what types of information you deal with, the laws around the protection of that information, and the details of your system.
A recent survey published in the Denver Post found that 60% of small businesses were out of business just six months after a data breach. IBM found that the average per record cost of a data breach in the US was $225 last year. That means if you have only 100 clients, your cost to clean up the hack, inform those affected, and rebuild your business would be $22,500.
Who is at risk for a cyber attack?
I c an hear you saying, “But I’m too small to be a target of hackers.” Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true for two reasons. First, many attacks are so cheap and easy, criminals can now afford to attack small businesses. Second, there is a type of attack called ransomware that locks your data until you pay a ransom. It doesn’t matter if your data is valuable to the attacker. It matters if it is valuable to you: family photos, client lists or schedule, etc.
What the Law Says about Cybersecurity
A hacker getting your clients data not only is a PR nightmare, it could be a legal nightmare as well. There are a number of laws that you may be violating if you have not taken proper steps to prevent a breach.
For example, HIPAA (the law that protects patient health information) requires that everyone who deals with such data conduct a 45-point risk analysis and then keep it up to date, suggesting a new assessment every year. There are similar laws protecting financial information, which you can learn more about in our blog. If you don’t know if you are in compliance, first talk to a lawyer (we aren’t lawyers), and then contact us to set up an assessment.
“Hardware is easy to protect: lock it in a room, chain it to a desk, or buy a spare. Information poses more of a problem. It can exist in more than one place; be transported halfway across the planet in seconds; and be stolen without your knowledge.”– Bruce Schneier, Protect Your Macintosh, 1994