Get wise to computer hacking and protect your business
- If you own a small business you have a 20% chance of getting hacked
- Out of businesses attacked, approximately 60% will go out of business within six months
- Employee awareness is crucial when it comes to protecting your business
If you kept up with the Internet news in 2013, you probably heard about the serious problem with hackers gaining access to Facebook and Twitter accounts in addition to other social media networks. Several Fortune 500 companies also suffered from hackers' attacks.
While not all of them lost sensitive or confidential information, it once again drove the point home of the vulnerability of most businesses to the attacks by hackers, viruses, and malware.
A report by National Cyber Security Alliance says that if you own a small business, you have a 20 percent chance of getting hacked. One in five will become a victim each year.
Still not sure how serious it is? Out of those who are attacked, about 60 percent will go out of business within six months of the breach.
Read related articles in Business Review USA
- How to use social media at work and keep safe online
- The 25 worst internet passwords
- The top five security software systems
Damage hacking does
The most obvious issue is the loss of money when you discover all of your funds have disappeared from your accounts. While this often happens to individuals, it can also happen to companies.
Another problem comes with the breach of confidential data.
When hackers gain access to personal information about customers or clients or discover account numbers and other data, a business often loses credibility. People are afraid to trust their information to that company even if they never personally suffered a loss.
Just hearing about a breach of data will often send customers right to your competitor. Their theory is if it happened once, it could happen again.
Protect your business
In the past, many small businesses thought they weren't big enough to be on hackers' radar. However, with more automated systems, everyone is vulnerable. It is important to take every precaution to protect your company from the threat of hackers.
Make sure every device is protected, especially if your staff take their devices home with them or bring devices from home to work. Use high-quality protection software, and make sure it is updated on a regular basis so that it can catch the latest spyware and viruses.
Train all of your employees on how to be safe in everything they do.
Make sure they understand the purpose of strong passwords and how to create one. Teach them not to open attachments until they are scanned.
They also should never follow a link from an unknown source. Teach them about scams such as phishing so they know how to recognize them.
It might even be beneficial to have IT professionals come in to train staff and teach them about internet safety. Sometimes hearing information from experts can have a lasting effect, especially if it includes stories of what happens when hackers get into a system.
It is essential that you are aware of the threats to your business and that you take precautions with every aspect of your company. Don't assume that you are safe because with today's technology no one is safe.
If you are attacked by hackers, the chances increase that your business will no longer exist in six months.
About the author
Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and how to receive a computer degree online.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.