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“Free” Security Won’t Work for Your SMB Anymore – Here’s Why

free_antivirus_not_good_enough_anymoreYou probably know by now that protecting your small business from threats is absolutely essential, and even if you haven’t taken the steps to have an off-site backup or an on-board IT helper, you’ve probably done your best with your resources and installed the free software available to small businesses. Of course, this is a great start, and you should be proud that you’ve taken the first steps towards securing your customer data. However, cybercrime has evolved and changed over the past decade, and that free software may not be enough to hold back real dangers anymore.

A decade ago, hackers were more interested in having fun and impressing friends than they were in actually stealing data. Now that there’s a profitable, gigantic market for information, and the hacker culture has lost its fame aspect, your company is at serious risk for security problems.

Who are Hackers Targeting?

Symantec recently released their 2015 Internet Security Threat Report, and while the results are not surprising, they are alarming. According to the report, targeted attacks have almost doubled in the past few years. In the past, most of the campaigns run by hackers involved distributing a virus to whoever could be tricked into downloading them. Now, however, these campaigns are targeting a small or medium-sized business and throwing everything they have at that one particular business.

This is often done because there is some value in the business to the hacker (such as a high number of credit card transactions, or a vendetta) or the small business is connected to a larger business. For example, the large Target attack that happened last year was the result of a hacker finding their way into the HVAC vendor that Target uses to fix their heating and cooling systems. Target is obviously not a small business, but the heating guy it uses is, and his data was not nearly as secure as it needed to be.

In other words, hackers may be targeting you.

So What Do I Do?

Fortunately, we have many services that can help protect small and medium sized businesses. While a good anti-virus is an excellent place to start, it needs to be part of a multi-faceted approach to security. Make sure you invest in an anti-virus that not only counters viruses, but trojans, spyware, phishing attempts, and other dangers as well.

In addition, educating your team about the dangers of the internet is important. Even an obvious ruse may not be so obvious to someone who’s never seen it before, so having educational meetings about what should and should not be clicked, downloaded, or even visited is exceedingly important.

Finally, having strong, encrypted backups may not stop hackers, but it will ensure that if you do lose your data to a hacker (or something as awful as Cryptolocker), you have another copy. This will help you contact customers and have them change as much information as possible so the data stolen is less valuable.

Do your research as an SMB – if you’re aware that you’re at risk, but you’re not 100% certain what to do about it, don’t hesitate to contact a local managed services provider today for information.

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