Lessons for Small Businesses Following the Sony Hacks

Illinois small business law attorney, Gierach Law Firm, Sony hacks, cyber attacks, protecting small businesses, lessons for small businesses, small business security, Internet securityRecently, the news has been full of the information obtained from data leaks that resulted from cyber attacks on Sony Entertainment. Beginning this past November, hackers believed to be backed by North Korea began leaking embarrassing internal emails and other private Sony information and data to the public. Though small businesses are typically not the target of such large and widespread hacking campaigns, data breaches are real issues that cripple both small and big businesses. In fact, Insureon, an insurance company for small businesses, has found that about 60 percent of small businesses that have been hacked typically go out of business within six months after the hack is perpetrated. All it takes is either bad luck, an upset customer, or disgruntled employee with some computer savvy and a small business can find its private data hacked and revealed to the public. However, there are several steps that small businesses can take to protect their business and to also learn from the mistakes of Sony.

Tips for Protecting Your Small Business from Data Breaches

There are four main practices that can be used to protect your small business from cyber hacking. First, proper data encryption is a crucial tool in preventing private communications from becoming public. It is believed that the Sony hack was so debilitating because much of the data was unencrypted, which made the process of discovering damaging information easier than if the information had been encrypted. Securities experts advise data encryption for all sensitive data in order to prevent the communication from being easily read and understood by prying eyes.

Second, an investment in the proper security software for all company computers and other equipment is crucial for guarding against cyber hacks. The relevant firewall system must be installed and regular updates are required in addition to the necessary protections against malicious spyware and spam.

The third tip for protecting your business against cyber attacks is to always assume that employees are not being particularly careful online. These days, hackers are utilizing social engineering to target specific employees as their way into a businesses’ mainframe and electronic systems. As a result, it is best to assume that employees will click on phishing buttons disguised as legitimate advertisements, and other schemes that could inadvertently grant hackers remote access to your business’s electronic systems. Security experts advise using thin client machines that do not provide for local storage as well as the use of Internet browsers with ad blockers and other security plugins in order to thwart social engineering attempts to hack your business.

The fourth tip posits that cyber insurance may be a good investment for a business that stores particularly sensitive and confidential client information. Before the recent big name attacks against Sony and other international corporations, the idea of small businesses purchasing cyber insurance would have been seen as a frivolous business expense. However, all businesses, especially the smaller ones without their own IT departments, are particularly vulnerable. Cyber insurance can provide tailored protection for the unique cyber risks facing a specific small business.

Undoubtedly cyber attacks will continue to increase in the upcoming years. If you need legal advice on how to best protect your small business, contact an Illinois small business law attorney at Gierach Law Firm today.