Having worked with over 3 dozen private business owners over the last 4 years, I have encountered countless challenges. Issues include employment, operation, sales and finance to name a few. However, there is a silent threat that gets very little attention…that is… until it is too late. That threat is cyber security.

I find it curious that the average view is ” As long as my email and Quik Books are working all is fine”. ” Besides, who would want anything I have?”

In the main, private businesses are the overwhelming target for cyber crimes. The reason: They have the most lax I.T. security protocol and spend virtually nothing on bolstering their procedures and building effective firewalls. Think of how many employees you have and multiply that by the number of times each will access the internet (either for work or some other non-business reason)  from your network each day. Say you have 10 employees and each goes outside your network 20 times a day. That is 200 times that a “stranger” might follow them back inside your network.  If a strangler was hanging around outside your operation’s front door you would keep the doors locked and possibly call the police.  But private business owners are generally lassie faire when it comes to this topic. “It will never happen to me”

In the last 6 months I am familiar with 4 private businesses that had their networks taken down due to ransom ware. The average time from first being noticed until the network was down was 10 minutes, average time to get things back up and running 3-4 days and significant money was spent to pay the cyber extortionists to unlock the system….and oh by the way the network will then need to be purged and software/data re-installed because the extortionist probably left a Trojan Horse in the code.

The time the HR manager or the operations manager also doubles as the I.T. guy, has long since passed. If you can not afford a full time IT person…who knows what they are doing… then search for a third party source to drive the process. And when you retain such a source, be certain you seriously consider a managed services approach where your network is being monitored 24/7/365……because they will spot and correct problems long before your network is impacted.

Can’t bring yourself to “spend the money”?  Then consider this fact supported by a number of recent I.T. studies.   Over 70% of the organizations that had a major network failure are out of business within 3 years.

Private business owners are often gamblers……But the odds in this situation are certainly not in their favor.