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).

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.

Read More

How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook/Planner)

 How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook-Planner)

Do you currently have a good work-life balance?

Or do you feel like you have little or no control over your life?

Maybe you feel guilty because you can’t make time for everything, and maybe you feel overwhelmed and over-committed.

The big question is this: Are you happy?

For most of us, the answer is NO.

So how can we become comfortable and relaxed when we are at home?

How can we enjoy hobbies or interests outside of work?

How can we make time to do something just for ourselves every week?

By using the strategies and techniques outlined in this post (along with the FREE accompanying workbook/planner) we can stop feeling exhausted, even when it’s early in the week!

We can learn to think of other things than work when we’re NOT working.

We can focus on our specific goals for your business when we are.

And we can find a work-life balance that allows us to have a better, more organized life.

How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance – Introduction

If you’re a blogger, a freelancer, or some other type of entrepreneur, you need to learn how to find a good work-life balance.

This is often easier said than done!

However, you can achieve a wonderful work-life balance. Seriously, you can!

It just takes a bit of planning in order to do so!

That’s why I decided to create a FREE 10-page workbook/planner for you. Combined with the tips and activities outlined below, it will help you move forward to a happier life.

You will definitely be more satisfied when you are in control of your goals and your work life!

I know I have been happier since following these tips, strategies, and techniques!

Get your FREE workbook/planner NOW.

How to Create a Good Work-Life Balance: Article Outline

There are three sections to this blog post:

Part 1: Time Management and Scheduling

Part 2: Balancing Work with Leisure

Part 3: How to Implement these Techniques and Achieve Balance

Part 4: What to Do Once You Have Found Your Balance (and What to Do if You Get Stuck Again)

Each section will provide tips you can use as well as an activity for you to do in the workbook/planner you can download for free and use at your own convenience.

Now, let’s dive in! Read More

26 Phone Apps to Make LIFE Easier (for blogging or business)

 numbered image for blog post titled Phone Apps to Use to Make LIFE Easier (for blogging or business)

You probably have a phone, a blog, and a business of some sort. You probably have a few apps on your phone, too, that you use to make your life easier, right?

The big question is: Are you making the most of your phone?

Today I am going to tell you how I use my phone, in my personal life and for blogging and business. 

I’m also going to share with you how 10 other people I know use their phones, too.

After reading a post by Esteban Pau on Harleena’s blog Aha!NOW, called 6 Best Free Blogging Apps For Savvy Bloggers, I decided to check a couple of them out…

…because I have phone.

And a blog.

And a business, too.

Plus, I wasn’t sure if I was making the most of my phone! (My phone is a bit old —  it is a Samsung Galaxy A5. Therefore, it’s an android phone. Without getting into too much geek-speak, I’ll just tell you that I love my phone!)

I use my phone daily, for different things.

In this post, I’ll reveal how I use my phone, and how 10 other people I know use their phones, too, for both blogging and business.

And I’ll even give you a bit of backstory about my personal life and my cell phone experiences!

Read More

8 Benefits of Having Guest Bloggers (and how to find them)

image for blog post titled 8 Benefits of Having Guest Bloggers (and how to find them)

Have you ever wondered how some bloggers provide content to their readers on a consistent basis?

I have… especially when I read Neil Patel’s blog. There is NO WAY that one person can create 5 or more articles a week by himself without burning out. I’ve done the math. It’s just not possible.

Neil has a team of people working for him. That’s his secret.

So do many other businesses and bloggers.

Some contribute for free, too, as guest posters.

Some are paid.

Either way, there are many benefits to having someone contribute content to your website!

Today we will look at 8 of these benefits. Read More