Why Security Passwords Truly Matter

2013-09-13by Amy Morin

Protecting your small business computers from security threats is essential in today's world.

With that in mind, there are many ways in which hackers can gain access to your information or employees can inadvertently breach your security. Be proactive in protecting your computer system's security.

The Importance of Computer Security

The cost of security problems can be astronomical for small and medium-sized businesses.

The average cost of cyber-attacks on small businesses in 2010 was approximately $200,000, according to Symantec. Unfortunately, nearly 60 percent of small businesses are forced to close permanently within six months after their information is breached.

Almost every business is at risk for security problems.

Even companies who invest millions of dollars in protecting themselves can be at risk.

Sony Playstation was hacked in 2011. One single instance of hacking cost Sony over $170 million in damages.

Google became a victim of hacking in 2005.

The company lost more than $500,000.

However, it's not just the big companies with big wallets that are at risk. Small businesses are at risk for security breaches and hacking as well.

A study by Symantec found that 40 percent of cyber-attacks are against organizations with fewer than 500 employees. However, 85 percent of small businesses think their company is safe from data breaches, hackers, malware, and viruses.

What Cyber Criminals Want

Many business owners don't recognize how dangerous a security breach can be to their business. Cyber criminals can often steal your identity just by poking around your information.

They can often access your personal and business accounts as well. They may be able to run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges in a matter of minutes.

They may also steal your customers' information.

Even if you don't store this information on your computer, it's possible for criminals to access past customer's credit information or bank information when they hack into your computer system.

How to Secure Your Computers

It's essential that your computer system is protected from viruses and malware. Install security features and update them often.

There are many security systems on the market. Look for security features that are designed to specifically protect small businesses.

Secure your internet connection. If you use WiFi make sure that it is password protected. Install a firewall program to monitor your internet connection.

Employees Present Security Risks

Employees pose some of the biggest security risks for small businesses. The vast majority of employees would never purposely breach a company's security; however, many of them inadvertently do so.

Many employees tend to have bad habits that can be very risky to business owners.

In 2012, CSID conducted a survey that revealed 61 percent of employees reuse the same password for multiple sites and 44 percent said they change their passwords once a year or less.

These behaviors place a small business at risk for becoming a victim of a cyber-attack. It's essential that business owners take steps to educate employees about security risks.

Employee Education about Security

All employees should be educated about the importance of using passwords that contain symbols, numbers or capital letters. Also, make employees switch passwords every few months automatically and inform them not to use the same password for other sites.

Only allow employees who need information to have access to sensitive data. It should be based on a need-to-know basis.

Don't give passwords out to employees who don't need to have access. Avoid giving passwords to new employees as well. Only allow the most trusted employees to have access to financial information and secure data.

Conduct background checks on employees who will have access to your most secure data as an extra step. It can send a message to your employees that you are serious about security.

Take steps to keep your computer system's information secure and protect your small business today.

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Amy Morin

Amy Morin writes about parenting, psychology, and business related topics such as online reputation management services.

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