Cyber Crime and Cyber Security for Entrepreneurs

Cyber Crime and Cyber Security for Entrepreneurs

Cyber crime is something we need to worry about. So we need to learn some cyber security tips, because we need to learn to protect ourselves!

You might remember that I related what happened to me in A True Story of a Computer Scam and How to Avoid It Happening to You. However, this is only ONE instance of the type of crime that is out there.

Today my guest (who you have met before when she offered some tax tips to freelancers) has many tips for us about how to protect ourselves from cyber crime and how to increase our cyber security.

Be sure to read the whole article. Her tips are amazing!

Cyber Crime and Data Theft

For self-employed individual freelancers and small business owners, remaining financially secure and finding success is a balancing act. It can be hard enough for new entrepreneurs and freelancers to balance the books without unexpected expenses cropping up. Cyber crime and data theft are lurking dangers that could have indirect and direct financial costs on your organization.

According to a fraud and cyber crime infographic, Is Your Business Ready for the Next Man Made Disaster, created by Boston University, 45% of US businesses experienced some type of fraud over a two year period. Of the businesses that reported fraud, 44% reported cyber crime and 19% reported intellectual property theft had occurred in the last two years.

Boston University Online ~ source

Due to the number of cyber-attacks that United States businesses experience every year, it’s vital that all freelancers and business owners set up cyber security measures to prevent data theft.

Cyber Crime Comes in Many Different Forms

What exactly will criminals be targeting? What should you be concerned with protecting?

The following are a list of potential areas that might be targeted by cyber criminals:

  • Credit card, social security, addresses, phone numbers, and medical information of clients or customers
  • Schematics for products or the products themselves (if they are digital).
  • Theft of sensitive information about the company.
  • Hijacking of a computer network or website.

Cyber Crime Fallout

Why does cyber crime matter to small businesses and freelancers? The aftermath of a successful data breach can have far reaching legal, financial, and brand management consequences.

There are many potential legal fall-outs of a data breach:

  • Lawsuits from consumers or customers (class action lawsuit)
  • Lawsuits from financial institutions for exposing customer information.
  • Lawsuits from shareholders for breach of duty.
  • Lawsuits from employees.
  • Lawsuits from the federal government, state government, or federal trade commission for not meeting security standards (HIPPA Standards and cyber crime reporting rules).

Smaller companies and independent freelancers, due to their the smaller pool of data, employees, and clients have a lower chance of facing litigation, but it should still be something that companies guard against. Even when you don’t face potential litigation, the cost of a breach can be too high for many smaller businesses and freelancers.

The financial fallout can include:

  • Hours spent assessing the extent of the damage.
  • Expense of hiring an IT guys to help you diagnose and fix the breach.
  • Time and money spent reporting the breach to customers and regulators.
  • Time wasted due to vital data loss and unwanted encryption of systems.
  • Time wasted and work halted due to inability to access your network or website due to hackers locking you out.
  • Extortion demands to regain access to your site, network, or information.

In the aftermath of a data breach, customers and clients affected by the breach might lose some faith in your ability to ensure the safety of their own private information. In order to manage the brand fall-out, self-employed individuals should pro-actively tighten security, help clients where you can, and make it clear that the gaps in your security are now filled.

Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Prevention

The best defense to prevent cyber crime is to proactively enact a variety of protections and safe guards to promote a safe and secure workplace. You can start decreasing the chances of a cyber crime and increasing your cyber security by:

  • Ensuring you and all employees utilize complicated and unique passwords that are changed regularly.
  • Never sharing passwords with other employees, clients, or friends.
  • Not leaving computers with sensitive information on and unattended.
  • Not carrying sensitive information on a laptop that might be stolen.
  • Periodically deleting files with sensitive information from computers if they aren’t necessary.
  • Not accessing the businesses network on an unsecure device.
  • Encrypting folders with sensitive information on devices.
  • Encrypting emails that contain sensitive information.
  • Purchasing encrypted USB drives and external hard drives to store information.
  • Ensuring employees are familiar and stick to security protocols.
  • Ensuring that any vendors utilized that have access to your accounts have stringent security measures.
  • Scrubbing all information from old computers and devices before selling, trashing, or sending them in for recycling.
  • Conduct yearly analysis of the current state of the business’s cyber security.

Cyber security is important for all self-employed individuals. Failure to maintain a safe line of defense could have far reaching financial, legal, and brand consequences. It’s vital for the financial stability of your company that you create robust security protocols.

After all, you don’t want to get sued, do you?

Related: 4 Simple Ways for Small Businesses to Protect Themselves Online

Related: Security Tips for Freelance Writers and other #Entrepreneurs


Samantha StaufConnect with Samantha Stauf on Twitter (@SamStauf).

20 Ways to Be a Master Writer and Improve Your Writing Skills

 20 Ways to Be a Master Writer and Improve Your Writing Skills

Becoming a master writer and improving your writing skills is something most bloggers, freelancers, and authors strive to do.

That’s why I (Lorraine) have helped my guest today improve her writing by co-writing this blog post with her. (She sent the basic draft, and I added to it.)

It’s difficult to write a stellar blog post on the first, second, or even the third try. Great writing requires revisions!

Not only that, but writing a blog post or an article that will captivate the reader is not something many people can do. In fact, many people will run to the hills when asked to write a blog post. The simple reason for this is that it is tough coming up with paragraphs of words that will make the reader sit still and want to read to the end. Authors sometimes feel the same way when beginning a new book, too.

While it’s easy to write an email or correct someone else’s work, it suddenly becomes a tumultuous task for a majority of people when they are asked to write an interesting, comprehensible piece. Here are 20 helpful tips on how you can transform your bland writing into an art of work that is a page-turner:

20 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

There’s no doubt about it — writing is a skill. To improve your writing skills, there are a plethora of things you can do.

Here are the 20 best ways for improving your writing skills. Please use them! If you do, you’ll become a master writer in no time!

Read More

Writer’s Block (+ the 10 Best Ways to Overcome It)

 Writer’s Block (+ the 10 Best Ways to Overcome It)

Many people suffer from writer’s block. Bloggers, freelancers, and even authors have hit this breaker, which prevents them from moving ahead!

The threat of the blinking cursor or the starkness of the blank page succeeds in scaring off even the most seasoned of writers. You’re no different. Often, the stress is enough to demotivate many, and they end up skipping altogether, waiting until “inspiration” will hit them.

That’s why it’s important to act immediately when inspiration hits you!

In this article, my guest today will discuss writer’s block and provide the 10 best ways for overcoming it.

I hope you try at least some of these tips the next time you are stuck when writing!

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is an actual condition that has plagued even the greatest and most famed writers (including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Peanuts’ cartoonist Charles Schulz). It happens when you lose your creativity and have the inability to produce new works.

It is usually caused by fear, timing, and perfectionism.

But it can be overcome!

However, the frustration faced by writers is enough to freeze anyone in their tracks and giving up seems an easier option. When you’ve run out of ideas, you’ll no doubt find it difficult to put pen on paper, unsure of how you wish to proceed.

What I usually felt was the need for perfectionism. Everything had to be just perfect on my first attempt, and it was foolish of me to think this way. I wasted so much time running things constantly in my head that I never got around to writing them on paper.

The 10 Best Solutions for Overcoming Writer’s Block

There are many things you can to get your creativity back.

There are also a ton of different things you can do to overcome writer’s block. But here are the best 10 (and proven) ways to overcome it. Read More

7 Common Blunders to Avoid when Business Blogging

7 Common Blunders to Avoid when Business Blogging

If you have a company, you need to consider having a business blog if you don’t already have one.

Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge, show your personality, establish your authority, network with others, and initiate conversations.

When executed properly, a business blog can differentiate your business from your competitors, facilitate connections with others, and attract potential customers. Ultimately, it will help you make more sales!

However, when you have a business blog, you need to make sure you don’t make some of the common blogging mistakes many companies make.

There are 7 common blunders you need to avoid in business blogging, and we will look at each in this article.

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5 Ways for Creating an Awesome Book Title (+ Which Tools to Use)


How to Write an Awesome Book Title (+ which tools to use to do this

Book titles are not as easy to create you might think. Neither are blog post titles!

Non-fiction books are sort of like blog posts. Just longer.

So are e-books.

And, just like with blog posts, if you don’t have a catchy, captivating title, no one is going to read your content.

More and more bloggers are becoming non-fiction authors now. BUT they don’t always create the best titles!

But if you want to have a high-ranking book or e-book on Amazon (or elsewhere), you need to have an awesome book title.

There are many ways you can create such a title.

There are also many tools you can use to do so.

In this article, we will look at the 5 ways for creating an awesome book or e-book title.

We will also look at which 4 tools you can use to do this.

But before looking at the steps of the title creation process and the tools you can use to create a book or e-book title, we will first look at the difference between books and e-books as well as the publishing pros and cons for each.

What’s the Difference between Books and E-books?

An e-book is an electronic book, usually a PDF (portable document format), that readers can access from either a computer screen, a tablet/iPad, or a mobile device.

A book is essentially the same thing, but is also made available in print. Printed books are typically longer than e-books, but not always.

With the advent of self-publishing and the creation of POD (Print On Demand) companies (such as CreateSpace), anyone can now become a legitimate author.

Most people use Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to publish e-books.

In the words of Pat Flynn (from his e-book), “Kindle has become a prominent force in the publishing world, and can now provide the same amount of authority as you’d get with a print book.”

However, there are pros and cons to creating and publishing both e-books and print books.

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