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Did Your Name Show Up on Ashley Madison? So What, That’s the Least of Our Problems

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Let’s face it, no network is totally safe, which is a thought that’s scary enough on its own, but when you consider the customer data housed on the typical business’s computer network is just as valuable to criminals as it is to legitimate business owners, the thought becomes so chilling your blood it can turn your blood into that blue stuff inside lunchbox freezer packs.  So no matter how small you are, or how insignificant you might think your customer data is, it is a target for being hacked. That’s just the straight-up, no-holds-barred truth, and if Ashley Madison, a company who has a full-time, IT Security Specialist on staff, allegedly didn’t know about their hack happening until long after the fact, then how quickly are you, as a small business who is more than likely without a full-time tech, or tech security staff, going to know when your data is hacked and stolen?

The answer to that is you probably won’t know until the FBI shows up at your door after they’ve traced your customers’ stolen data back to your business.

The healthcare industry is especially susceptible to being hacked, even at the level of the self-managed general practitioner. This is due to the nature of the data healthcare providers store on their networks. Criminals can make a lot of hay out of just a few hacked medical records by way of insurance fraud and other lucrative fraudulent schemes.

There have reportedly been 1,100 data breaches where more than 500 individuals’ data were stolen, according to data released via the HITECH Act, which requires certain breaches to be reported. By March of this year there had already been 120 million healthcare records hijacked by criminals. By the time the 2015 tally comes in, that number is likely to two or three times that high. As a recent headline in the Washington Post said, “2015 is already the year of the year of the healthcare hack — and it’s only going to get worse.”

And it’s not just a healthcare issue. Whether you are an accountant, an attorney, an engineer, or even a grocery store, your network is susceptible to being targeted by a hacker.

Protecting data is the responsibility of the business/practice who operates the network where it is stored, and all of the blame falls on their shoulders, whether it is deserved or not. That is simply the way it is. Just ask Ashley Madison.

The only way to soften that blow, and potentially save your business should you be hacked, is to prove you were doing all you could possibly do to protect the data entrusted to you.

The only way for a business owner has to really protect themselves and their data is to continually stay on top of their security, and make their network is such a hassle to hack the hackers’ efforts are better spent elsewhere. Achieving this level of confidence and security is more than a set it and forget it fix. It takes ongoing monitoring and maintenance, which means it takes a lot of time and effort.
If you can’t pay someone to do this for you, your priority should be to make someone at your office responsible for managing your security measures, and to check for updates on a weekly basis. You probably should even make a log so it can be tracked and monitored to make sure no one forgets. Taking care of network security should to be a steadfast ritual, but in our 20 years of experience, we’ve found it’s, at best, an afterthought in most offices.

I’ve got even more bad news for you. The days of having the luxury to make network security an afterthought are long gone.

None of us can afford to put our business in the position of being low hanging fruit, ripe for the picking, and coincidentally, that’s what our customers expect of us.

How safe is your data?

How effective are your current security measures?

We can help you find out, for free, so you can make the right decisions when it comes to protecting your data. We are offering a Free Data Security Audit, where we evaluate your network, find the holes in it, and offer some advice on how to better protect your data, and ultimately your business.

No one wants to be the business being profiled on the news for getting hacked, and essentially handing criminals customers’ personal data. The time to do something to prevent that from happening is now, because next year, next month, or even tomorrow, might be too late.

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