Cybersecurity: Passwords Matter
There is so much that goes into starting and operating a small business besides the financial side. As a small business owner, you are responsible for inventory management (retail goods stores), marketing, market and industry research, human resources (if you have employees), and accounting and payroll.
September 21, 2023
Another responsibility is security. This responsibility is a big one and encompasses a lot more than some realize. Physical security is something that everyone is familiar with and probably comfortable with. It involves everything from door locks to alarm systems. It is generally easy to implement and not hard to remember to do. It used to be enough.
Today, it is no longer enough to just lock a door, a safe, or a desk drawer, and set the alarm. Businesses, even small businesses, now do so much more on computers and through the Internet than ever before. It is all but impossible to conduct business these days without access to customers and venders through the internet in some form or fashion. Interactions with customers and venders through internet portals are requiring more and more from small business owners in the cybersecurity perspective.
It used to be about keeping unauthorized people from accessing your bank account or emails by not sharing your password, or making sure it wasn’t written down anywhere. It was about protecting your information. Cybercriminals have gotten smarter and more creative. You have way more to protect than you may realize and that little eight-character password with one number and one special character isn’t as secure as you may believe. It is likely that you have personally identifiable information (PII) about your customers that you are required to protect. Or you may have other information of theirs that is in a digital format that requires your protection.
Risks from cyber-crimes range from unauthorized access to financial accounts to attacks on websites to holding accounts hostage for ransom. Of all cyber-attacks, small businesses are targeted 43% of the time because they are often the least prepared to defend against these attacks. Human error is the cause of successful attacks 95% of the time. That means someone clicked on a link or visited a site they should not have. Sixty percent of small businesses that experience a data breach go out of business within six months.
It is time to start investing more in protecting your small business and including cybersecurity in your budget. But one of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your small business is through using strong passwords. The eight-character password most often used with one number and one special character can be broken by a good hacker with the right software in less than FIVE minutes. Using complicated passwords can be a challenge, but with a good password manager, it becomes easy. A password manager is software that remembers your complicated passwords (and helps you create them) for any application. All you need is to remember the master password for your password manager. It can be implemented on an enterprise system for various employees.
For more information on protecting your small business from cyber-attacks, please reach out to the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center.
Business Tips” was written by James Leavelle, Senior Certified Business Advisor of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at James.Leavelle@angelo.edu.