Prioritizing Cybersecurity Is No Longer a Choice

Having good cybersecurity is just as important as having a good accountant, lawyer, and insurance. You need to start prioritizing it.

I get it. The whole idea of cybersecurity is overwhelming and not particularly sexy to most of us.

The language is weird. (Phishing? Trolling? Doxxing? Ransomware?)

The requirements are so technical. (Install a firewall! Use encryption! Engage 2-factor authentication!)

And there are more acronyms than in the US Government. (SSL, TLL, HIPPA, PCI DSS, DDoS, OMG, WTF)

(Yes, those last two are acronyms for what first came to your mind. I added them because that’s what I felt like trying to figure this stuff out for you.)

Plus, how do you hide from cyberattacks when you need an online presence to promote your business??

If you’re a yoga instructor, or an online business coach, or have a small store downtown, the last thing you want to think about is cybersecurity. You want to work your passion, not learn a whole new industry, especially one that’s so technical and dry compared to what you do.

Seriously, who has time for that? Boring!!

Except for one small problem: You are a target.

Yes, you. Whether you’re a solopreneur or have 50 employees, you’re the ideal target to the hacking world. And for one reason, and one reason only: Vulnerability.

If you’re like most business owners, you’re probably assuming that you’re such small potatoes, you’re not really worth the effort of a hacker. After all, you have relatively small email list, you don’t store much data, and you host your website on a well-known hosting platform. Basically, you’re willing to “chance it,” to play cybersecurity roulette and you expect to win because you won’t be targeted.

Here’s the problem with that line of thought: Hackers know that the odds are that you’re chancing it because nearly ALL small businesses (and individuals) are gambling against the need for cybersecurity. That is irresistible for a criminal.

Believing that you aren’t worth the effort of hackers can only lead to heartache. Just ask the victims of the WannaCry ransomware, as well as the worms and viruses known as Code Red, Sasser, Slammer, and ILOVEYOU. (Yeah, “ILOVEYOU.” The creators banked on the idea that people would open an email that had “I Love You” in the subject line, and they were right. Tens of millions opened that email in 2000, eventually costing over $5B in damages and $15B to remove the worm.)

It doesn’t take much to figure out how well that worked out for them. (Not well at all.)

The need for cybersecurity is real.

The problem is that cybersecurity is an issue, whether or not you want to deal with it. And the aftermath of a cyberattack (hacking, phishing, etc.) could be devastating for your business.

Experts say that it’s not a matter of if you are a victim of a cybersecurity breach or crime, it’s a matter of when. The odds are against you. You’re going to run into problems at some point. We all are (or already have).

That’s worth repeating: It’s a matter of WHEN, not IF, you’re a cyberattack victim.

Being a large, well-known company with virtually endless resources at your disposal is also no guarantee to avoiding cyber threats, either. In a 12-month period between 2016-2017, Cloudflare, Tesco Bank, Democratic National Committee, and Chipotle were all victims of malicious cyberattacks. And let’s face it: The perpetrators weren’t after Chipotle’s barbacoa recipe (although that is coveted by many).

So how do you protect yourself? Well, here’s a little good news for most of us:

Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated.

Despite what you read online, you don’t have be anonymous or go to extremes using expensive email services and browsers you’ve never heard of, nor do you need to spend thousands of dollars to buy firewalls or hire specialists (at least most of us don’t; in certain businesses and industries it’s necessary to take extreme caution). But you do need to do something.

95% of cyberattacks are caused by the “human factor,” so the goal is to mitigate this as much as possible. 4

Categories: : priorities