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August 30, 2019

How to Prepare Your Business for a Cyber Threat

Samantha Hubay

Written by:

Samantha Hubay

How to Prepare Your Business for a Cyber Threat

Is your business prepared for a cyber threat?

When disaster strikes, one phrase always comes to mind - “I never thought it would happen to me”. We read stories and hear news of data breaches almost every day. The sad reality is there are even more attacks that occur and don’t make headlines. Most affected companies had security measures in place, but still couldn’t escape. Your business could be next.


Table of Contents

  1. The Facts of Cyber Attacks
  2. Train Employees
  3. Secure Payment Processing


The Facts of Cyber Attacks

We’re not trying to scare you, but it’s important for you to have all the facts. A Keeper Cybersecurity study revealed that 67% of small to mid-sized businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2018. The truly scary part is that nearly half of those business owners stated they have no idea how to protect their business from an attack.

According to recent research, 66% of small business owners do not believe they are at risk for a cyber attack. Maybe this is due to an “it won’t happen here” sort of mentality, but to think your business is not at risk for being attacked is naïve. All businesses are at risk, no matter how big or small. However, just because there is a real risk doesn’t mean an attack is inevitable. There are some careful measures you can take to protect yourself, your business, and your customers. First, let’s look at the facts:

  • Small and mid-sized businesses are experiencing sophisticated, targeted cyber attacks.
  • On average, a cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds.
  • According to Juniper Research, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million.
  • It is estimated that $6 trillion globally will be spent on cybersecurity by the year 2021.
  • Only 38% of businesses worldwide say they are prepared to handle an advanced cyber attack.
  • 95% of breaches are due to human error, and could be avoided with proper training.


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Training Employees to Beware

Educating employees on the importance of cybersecurity is the first step you should take to protect your business. It only takes one person to click on a malicious link and compromise your business, so do your best to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you don’t have an internal IT team to provide the education, consider using as outside source such as ESET. You can also share these tips for a quick briefing:

A cyber threat takes many forms.

Teach employees that a hacker can’t just magically shut down your operation. First, someone has to give them access by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. An attack can appear in many forms, and most often start with a cleverly disguised email. The most common attacks include: spam, phishing, spear phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering.

Strong passwords are crucial.

It’s very important to make sure you and your employees practice good password management. Your password should contain more than eight characters and use a good mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use your birthday, and definitely don’t make it the word “password”. Also, be sure to use different, strong passwords for your various applications. That way if a hacker does learn your password, they won’t be able to access additional data using the same password.

Lock devices before stepping away.

Remind your employees to lock their computer, phone, and other devices before stepping away from their desk. Even if it’s just to walk to the water fountain for thirty seconds, everything should be locked. If there is sensitive information stored on a flash or hard drive, it needs to be locked up as well.

Be careful with clicks.

As we mentioned before, hackers can try to access your systems through an email with a malicious link or attachment. Warn your employees to always be wary. If an email is suspicious or unexpected for any reason, don’t click on any links or attachments. Contact your IT department or simply delete the email. It is always better to be safe than sorry.


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Secure Payment Processing with EMS

In the fight against cybercrime, your merchants need stable, secure companies on their side. This is especially true when it comes to payment processing. Past data breaches, such as the Target breach that affected 41 million people, have been caused by compromised credit card machines. Electronic Merchant Systems has been a certified Level 1 PCI service provider for the past 10 years, and we maintain an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We safeguard all payments we process, so merchants can rest assured that their data and their customers’ data are safe with us.

Click on the link below to talk about how we can help keep payments secure and prepare your business in case of a cyber threat.

Learn More About EMS' Agent Program


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