Cyber Crime and Cyber Security for Entrepreneurs

Last Updated on: October 17th, 2016

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).

16 thoughts on “Cyber Crime and Cyber Security for Entrepreneurs

  1. Hello Lorraine,

    This topic is also a must for 2017: Cyber Security. I will just share what is useful to improve cyber security of a website:
    1. Don’t Use Common Username. This maybe simple but adding complexity username can improve your website security but always note it in-case you don’t remember.
    2. Change your password often. This maybe annoying but it works. Also the password must complex like adding letters, numbers and special characters.

    Hope those tips may help others.

  2. Usman Nasir says

    Hi, Lorraine!

    It is really a nice topic that you have touched.

    Cybersecurity also involves the security of one’s website, but as a new blogger/e-commerce business owners people don’t think of it as a big issue, but later when they get involved in something like this, they realize that they must have taken some early steps to avoid such issues.

    I personally write a lot about web and cyber security, so I think people need to take it a bit more seriously.

    Have a good day.
    Regards

    • says

      Hi Usman.

      It’s unfortunate that not everyone takes this issue seriously… until it’s too late!

      Do you have any other recommendations for improving one’s security online? Please let me know!

      • Usman Nasir says

        Lorraine for a blog I think SSL and Web Application Firewall is a must(ModSecurity) also WordPress along with each plugin must be the latest version all the time, because if not you can see what could possibly happen : http://cyberpersons.com/2016/09/14/hack-wordpress-plugins/

        But if it is a mission critical or e-commerce site then you can also hire someone to conduct a penetration test.

        As long as you are on a shared hosting service you are good to go because security aspect is managed by your hosting provider, but keep your software versions up-to-date.

        But if it is VPS or dedicated server that you manage yourself, then you should take some precautionary measures.

        Have a good day.
        Kind Regards

        • says

          Usman,

          Wow!

          Thanks for that link, and for warning others about the pitfalls of using plugins. It’s truly frightening to think that someone can hack into your site just because of a plugin you’re using on it! 🙁

          Fortunately, I think I am safe because my hosting provider, Abivia Inc, is super-great! Their security is awesome, and my plan is a shared hosting plan.

          Thanks so much for your reply, Usman!

  3. Hey Samantha and Lorraine,

    Nowadays, people are getting targetted by many fraud companies. When you work in a place and then find out that the company is fraud and selling your personal details.

    Cyber crime has increased a lot due to the usage of the internet. Everyone is here with the tricks to cheat others. It’s important to remain secure.

    Sharing your password isn’t a good idea.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    ~Ravi

  4. Hi Lorraine,
    I am not knowing much knowledge about cyber crime. But this post of your has helped me to better understand more things. And the even the tips you have shared are really Good. I enjoyed reading the post.
    So, thanks for sharing.
    have a great day ahead.

    • says

      Robin, cyber crime is something we often DON’T think about. And it’s scary to know people are wanting to harm you by hacking your sites and stealing your data.

      Protect yourself!

      You know how now!

  5. Hi Lorraine,
    Fantastic awareness is creating the blog. I went through the true story which you posted, Who got affected by Cyber Crime. Cyber Crime is one of the modern issues, Which most of the people are not aware of. Every one is looking forward and busy in earning and not affording their precious time in safe guarding their privacy issues. I am also a business entrepreneur and never thought about this before. After reading your article, I got a clear idea about this Cyber Crime and what should be done for protection. The accuracy information about the Cyber Crime is very useful.
    Useful Resource. Thank you for sharing this great information.
    Best Wishes. Keep posting.

    • says

      Hi Sathish.

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found this post useful.

      Cyber crime is scary… and we all need to protect ourselves.

      Be safe, my friend.

  6. There is no doubt that every new day more and more sites are falling in the hands of cyber criminals. It is always good to keep yourself secure with high security passwords and also use a secure server for your blogs or websites.

    Security is getting more important and Google has also made it clear that it included https:// or SSL in ranking factors.

    Your knowledge is really remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi Samantha and Lorraine,

    Definitely something to be aware of 😉 I use strong passwords across the board and also secured my website – with https:// thingamajiggie LOL – through SSL a while back. I also hold admin rights to my blog. Even when I accepted guest posts I did not issue passwords to anyone else, other than your’s truly. All my cyber stores – OK, all 2 😉 – are offsite, handled by the big dawgs. Amazon and Selz and I sell a course through Teachable too. Let pros handle selling. They can take a cut to keep things secure 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan, strong passwords are a MUST!

      I recently secured my sites, too, with SSLs. 🙂 Of course, I had help, as I’m not techie. LOL

      I’ll be writing a post about that topic soon…

      As for your selling issues? Yeah, let the techie pros handle that stuff. 😉

      Thanks for visiting Wording Well again!

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