Sklar Technology Partners - February 2019

Now, Not Later Why Your Business Needs to Implement TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

The High Cost of Living

Can You Afford a Data Breach?

This is the single most expensive thing a business owner can say: “My company is too small to be a target for hackers.”

The misconception that cybercriminals can only profit from massive, multibillion-dollar companies causes most small-business owners to skip over implementing a data security program. Why spend money on something they don’t need, right? It’s this mindset that has made small business a favorite target of hackers. National Cyber Security Alliance found that 70 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. And the results are devastating. If? No, you should be asking, “What happens when my company suffers a cyber breach?” The price tag is around $117,000, according to the cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky Lab. How does the damage get so expensive? First, you have to factor in the cost of notifying your customers that a breach has occured, which is required by federal law. Then there are the costs of investigations, any industry fines or penalties, card replacements, legal fees, system upgrades, and most importantly, the cost of lost business. This kind of financial damage can be impossible to recover from, which is why 60 percent of small businesses that suffer from a cyber breach will go under within six months. Anyone who claims they can prevent 100 percent of all data breaches is selling something — and there’s a good chance that what they’re selling is a scam. Data security experts will openly admit that, while you can and should take precautions to protect your business, you cannot prevent every breach. Instead, your best option is to make sure you’ll be able to identify a breach when it happens, respond quickly, and recover with little to no downtime. Malicious cyber activity cost the United States economy $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. That cost has only grown in the last three years, as the number of attacks has increased. Small-business owners who continue to ignore this threat are putting themselves — and their companies — in jeopardy. What happens if my company suffers a cyber breach?

A survey by Paychex recently found that 68 percent of small-business leaders remain unworried about their digital security. If you need proof, you can just look at the passwords they and their employees use. According to SecureAuth, a staggering 81 percent of Americans use the same passwords for multiple accounts, the majority of which are unimaginative old standbys like “1234567,” “qwerty,” and “password.” These trends, compounded by the fact that passwords generally aren’t very airtight, turn the typical login and password combination into a paper shield for hackers. Even stronger passwords that include multiple uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters often only take a few hours to crack with an advanced brute-force tool. Once they’re cracked, they’re often posted on the darknet or sold to the highest bidder. Here’s where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. 2FA forces users to input more than one field of identification to access their account. If you’ve ever used your PIN at an ATM, you’ve already used 2FA, but many other forms exist. When logging into your email, Google can send an alert to your phone that includes a login number, which you type on your PC to gain access to your account. Banks often couple passwords with one of your security questions. Whatever the tactic, it’s much sturdier than your average password. It’s still not foolproof, but it’s an excellent first-line defense against hackers. However, implementing 2FA into your own business isn’t the easiest proposition. You’ll either need to create a custom solution — a big headache that may not be worth it for your small business — or hire a technical company suited for the job. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever you bring in an outside party, it’s a potential failure point for your cybersecurity. It’s vital to vet them properly and ensure they practice what they preach. 2FA can’t be the beginning and end of your cybersecurity strategy, but consider it a large first step toward protecting your livelihood. Trust us — when the digital wolves come knocking at your door, you’ll be glad you installed the door in the first place.

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