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Protecting your small business from hackers

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While data breaches at big companies like Target, The Home Depot, and Sony get a lot of press, small businesses are also at risk. And because small companies don’t typically have the financial resources, technical support, or processes in place to lock down data as effectively as larger firms, they are arguably at greater risk.

The threats are very real and growing for all companies—not just large corporations. According to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Threat Report, 65 percent of spear-phishing attacks (a type of targeted cyber attack that involves sending fraudulent email messages to obtain confidential information) in 2015 were aimed at small and mid-size businesses.

Cybercriminals often look at attacking less-protected small companies as a gateway for attacking larger companies with which the small businesses have relationships.

Getting hacked can cause a plethora of problems.

  • Inconvenience
  • Lost productivity
  • Additional costs (to make corrections to your system to remove the threat and prevent future successful attacks)
  • Liability (if customers’ confidential data is compromised)
  • Damage to your brand’s reputation

Although hackers have become extremely sophisticated and efficient in their methods, you do have ways to help prevent your small business from falling prey to them.

For starters, educate yourself.

A few other ways to increase your cybersecurity include:

  • Using anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software for protection and keep your computers’ software up to date.
  • Prevent unauthorized use of your computers, mobile devices, and networks by protecting them with passwords and securing them in a safe place when unattended.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi Network. Configure your access point or router so it won’t broadcast your network name (SSID) and require that users need to have your password to access your Wi-Fi.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts. Consider using a password management tool that stores and encrypts your unique password info. Those programs make it easier to manage using random, complex passwords because you can authorize them to automatically fill in your info or automatically log you into accounts. They alleviate the worry of remembering individual passwords every time you need to log in on a site.

For more ways to minimize your small business’s risk of getting hacked by cybercriminals, talk with a knowledgeable information technology professional who understands the security needs of small businesses. Also consider reaching out to your local SCORE chapter for guidance. SCORE mentors have wide-reaching expertise and experience in helping small businesses face challenges and grow their companies.

Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.

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Introduction to Watercolor @ Art in the Valley
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Introduction to Watercolor @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with watercolors, and meets once a week for five weeks. Each week we will work to build a solid foundation in technique. Materials are provided, but feel[...]
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Disney’s The Lion King JR. @ RMA Melton Memorial Gymnasium
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Disney's The Lion King JR. @ RMA Melton Memorial Gymnasium
Disney’s The Lion King JR. is playing at Randolph-Macon Academy starting on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm for two days only, through Thursday, November 15, 2018. Lasting approximately 90 minutes (including intermission), the[...]
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6:00 pm Drawing Studio @ Art in the Valley
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Drawing Studio @ Art in the Valley
All drawing levels welcome. In this class we’ll work on creating drawings from still life, plaster casts, or reference photos. Learn and develop your abilities in composition, proportion, and rendering with artist and instructor Michael[...]
7:30 pm Disney’s The Lion King JR. @ RMA Melton Memorial Gymnasium
Disney’s The Lion King JR. @ RMA Melton Memorial Gymnasium
Nov 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Disney's The Lion King JR. @ RMA Melton Memorial Gymnasium
Disney’s The Lion King JR. is playing at Randolph-Macon Academy starting on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm for two days only, through Thursday, November 15, 2018. Lasting approximately 90 minutes (including intermission), the[...]
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6:30 pm Deck the Halls – Premier Gala @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
Deck the Halls – Premier Gala @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
Nov 16 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Deck the Halls - Premier Gala @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
Each November, the gallery of Blue Ridge Arts Council is transformed into a holiday wonderland. Deck the Halls has proven to be a tremendous success over the past 15 years. Hundreds of volunteers participate in[...]