As we all wind up our busy year and start to prepare for what’s ahead, it’s a natural time to look at the systems we have in place in our companies to see where there’s opportunity for growth, and where we’re vulnerable to external forces. To help with those “external forces,” we’ve put together a quick list of cyber security points that you should know as you prepare for 2016:

  1. Cyber attacks are happening as you read this

Santa isn’t the only one who “sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake.” Cyber criminal activity is happening 24/7 around the world. Protecting yourself requires the same kind of focus that the bad guys have. For somewhat shocking perspective, check out for a real-time look at cyber crime happening.

  1. The cost for someone to purchase your stolen social security number is $3 (Source: U.S. Office of National CounterIntelligence)

Cyber crime is so prevalent throughout the world that stolen data is a commodity. It is highly unlikely that if your company is the victim of a cyber attack that you were intentionally targeted. Protecting yourself and your customers will help you deflect the numbers game that cyber criminals are playing at their victims’ expense.

  1. “Ransomware” has become a viable tool for cyber criminals, and there’s little the FBI can do about it

Ransomware, which is software that paralyzes your computer until you pay a “ransom,” is a particularly noisome problem for companies. The amounts that are being extorted are generally low, usually a max of $500, which is purposefully too small for the FBI to get involved, even though it falls into the category of cyber crime. Unprotected companies that find themselves victims of ransomware often have to simply follow the instructions and pay to get back up-and-running.

  1. 71% of cyber attacks occur at businesses with less than 100 employees

In the news, we only hear about large scale cyber attacks at companies like Target and SONY, but the reality is that most cyber crime is perpetrated on small business. The reason is quite logical: small businesses are less apt to invest in protecting themselves. Cyber criminals play the odds as well as anyone, and your and your customers’ information is fair game without security measures.

  1. The “old way” of stealing data still works!

Hacking into your server isn’t the only way for criminals to steal your data. One of the easiest ways for them to get information from you is the “old way” – by sifting through your company’s trash. Set up policies and procedures for your employees on how to deal with internal and customer information to take away the most obvious, but often most overlooked, avenue for data thieves.

At Lincoln Archives, we emphasize with every one of our customers the importance of data security. A breach of your and your customers’ data can not only set your considerably back financially, but can even threaten the viability of your business. Please share this post and if you have questions about data security, please comment below or feel free to send me a direct message via LinkedIn.

– Bill Palisano