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Security "Hacks" to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

By Todd Croteau, president of All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta

Small Business Saturday (November 30) is an exciting time for businesses in the US, giving companies with a smaller footprint a chance to share the spotlight alongside big-name brands. Unfortunately, these businesses are at risk. Cyber threats like email spoofing, malware, ransomware and other tricks by digital offenders have become commonplace, and businesses need to address this proactively before hundreds, if not thousands, flock to stores and websites on this day.

According to American Express, which formally launched the Shop Small movement, "Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 2010 - or $103 billion over 9 days alone." With data like that, it's no wonder small businesses wait for this day each year - however proper measures to ensure businesses are safe against cyber threats is a crucial piece of the puzzle that needs addressed in preparation.

The following "hacks" are designed to help your business maximize success before, during and after Small Business Saturday:

  • Ensure staff is trained and aware of their digital footprint, this helps your company to understand your own vulnerabilities. It's all too common that cyber threats are unwillingly welcomed with open arms through inadvertent mistakes made by employees. Whether it be downloading a file from an unknown sender, or something more malicious like responding to an email that appears to be from a colleague or superior, cyber criminals have found ways to reach staff at any level. Hosting a mandatory training with your entire staff in advance of Small Business Saturday will help educate them on the do's and don'ts of online activity, and inform them of various things to look out for when using basic tools like email and web browsers.
  • Do an assessment of your system's security in advance Small Business Saturday. Even if your business seems secure to the naked eye, cyber criminals often gain access to valuable information only to lie in wait for busier times when their activity may be harder to identify. Payment systems and other internal programs that host customer information are often left vulnerable to outsiders, but working with your current IT team or consultants to ascertain any risks and perform vulnerability scans provides an opportunity to create new levels of security measures during this time.
  • Implement password policies, such as ensuring all employees have different passwords and do not share with others. Something as simple as changing a password may not seem revolutionary, but survey data from Digital Guardian reports the 44% of consumers only change their passwords once a year or less. With that in mind, cyber criminals understand this an area of vulnerability for businesses as well and often attempt to crack passwords of individual employees to gain access to larger company systems and information. Consider asking all employees to change their passwords ahead of November to mitigate potential risk before Small Business Saturday. Additionally, a robust password policy should include minimum character requirements and lockout with 3 failed attempts to minimize brute force attacks.
  • Work with an MSP that doesn't just manage and secure your network, but helps to train customers' larger workforces on how they can take personal responsibility for their security. Engaging with a service provider that actively manages your business' IT is an important step in securing valuable assets and data, but finding a partner that can work to educate staff on a regular basis ensures your business' security is top of mind at any given moment. Partnering with the right company that has the bandwidth to monitor security proactively allows your employees to use their time furthering business goals, rather than spending time on the clock addressing security threats.
While Small Business Saturday holds promising opportunities, it does not come without risks. However, if a business is properly prepared, those risks can be intercepted before any major damage is done to the business and its reputation. With these tips in mind, small businesses should consider security measures a top priority, and work to equip staff and secure systems as, what could be the strongest sales day of the year, approaches.

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About the Author

Todd Croteau, President, All Covered - IT Services from Konica Minolta

Todd Croteau 

Todd Croteau oversees all aspects of All Covered's day-to-day operations. Todd joined the company in March 2000, when the consulting firm at which he was a partner merged with All Covered. During his tenure, he has held numerous field and corporate positions and previously served as Chief Executive Officer prior to the acquisition by Konica Minolta Business Solutions in December 2010. He has successfully executed over 40 company acquisitions and grown the IT division's headcount to more than 1,000 employees. Todd has more than 20 years of experience in the high technology sector. Prior to All Covered, he was employed at IBM, HDR Engineering and EKW Technologies. Todd holds a BS from the University of New Hampshire and an MS from Northeastern University.

Published Thursday, November 14, 2019 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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