‘Tis the season to make predictions.  Be aware of these IT security trends to avoid being a victim and help keep your small business safe:

  • Cybersecurity Training
  • Cloud and Colocation Services
  • Impact from Internet of Things (IoT)

Cybersecurity Training

The importance of training all your staff in cybersecurity will remain front and center in 2017.  It’s clear that no organization is immune from the threat of cybercrime, including small businesses. 

EVERYONE in your organization needs to be vigilant to thwart cybercrime attempts, especially through email.  Business owners and others with access to banking and personnel information are particular targets.

Hackers are clever and use techniques designed to trick you into giving them information.  These social engineering approaches make it extremely likely to appear as if they know you.  They involve watching your Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, Tweets, updates on your company website, and other online sources to gain knowledge about you and your business.

It may be obvious to avoid clicking on an attachment or link in a strangely-worded email.  Going forward, expect to see even more sophisticated email attacks that look “real” even though they’re fake. 

Make sure your team is trained on how to identify suspicious email, create secure passwords and take other steps to protect your business data. 

Cloud and Colocation Services

Not long ago, some clients vowed to keep their servers in their offices and to never use cloud-based applications.  Most have changed their opinions.  

Colocation, or housing servers in an off-site secure data center, has become more cost-effective than ever for small businesses.  Crucially, these data centers are also physically more secure than any office environment I have ever seen, with redundant power, redundant internet and other protective features.  You keep control of your equipment in a closed network and have fewer security concerns. 

Some are still skeptical of putting their business data “in the cloud”.  However, cloud applications have proven to be both robust and secure.  We expect to continue to see migration to the cloud in 2017.

Impact from Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzz phrase around IT for a while.  As the number of “smart” internet-enabled devices increases, so will the risks. 

In a typical office setting, you likely have printers and security cameras that are internet-enabled along with your computer network.  Ideally, your IT provider is coordinating with the security company, phone provider, and other vendors to keep your network secure.

But what happens at home?  Smart home automation devices (Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.) and door bells (with video you can see on your phone or computer) are connected to the internet.  If these devices lack strong passwords, are poorly programmed, or don’t get updated, they can create a threat to your network. 

With unsecured smart devices, you could unknowingly infect your work laptop just by taking it home and using your home network.  From there, it could infect your work network when you return to the office.  Keep this in mind as you add internet-enabled devices at home.

New technology brings tremendous opportunity, but it’s important to be wise to the risks.   

If you’d like to focus more on IT security in your business in the coming year, contact CRU Solutions.