Start Your Business Cyber Security Program Today

October 25, 2022

business cybersecurityCyber attacks are increasing for small and mid-size businesses. The same businesses who are least able to afford them. We reported this in our last post about cybercrime worries in 2022. And we see in the October 10, 2022 issue of the CNY Business Journal confirmation of this by speakers at the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) cybersecurity summit held in September.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Ersin Uzin, noted that, “The odds of any business or organization experiencing some sort of attack are about 70 percent.” He also said, “The small businesses are seeing more attacks.” And, “ Attackers are looking for the low hanging fruit.” That low hanging fruit is the fact that businesses who don’t have a robust protection system are easier to attack.

We are urging our clients in the Utica area and all of the Mohawk Valley to seriously consider preventive measures to ward off cyber attacks. Here’s how.

An Effective Cybersecurity Toolkit to Build a Wall Around Your IT Infrastructure

We discovered an excellent cybersecurity toolkit for small businesses provided by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). It’s a solid place to start if you’re serious about preventing cyber criminals from attacking you.

The toolkit begins with an inventory of your devices and accounts so you’ll know what you need to secure and to identify your risks. The next step is to update your devices and applications. Then analyze and update your login info, especially password strength. Phishing and malware prevention and data backup are next. There are even tools to ensure that criminals don’t steal your brand and email addresses to attack other victims.

We suggest you take a look at the toolkit for its roadmap to better cybersecurity and informative training materials. It’s well worth your investment in time to acquaint yourself with this costly, 21st century threat.

“Your Employees Are the Easiest Entry to Your Data For Cyber Criminals”

We also reported this revelation in our last post on cybersecurity. And phishing emails are a prime weapon for attacks.

PayPal has an informative page on how to identify fake messages. Be suspicious if you notice any of the following:

A sense of urgency: ignore those desperate pleas to take quick action or warnings of problems that will compromise your account status.

Fake URL: Look closely at the URL in the email. Don’t click on a web address that is scrambled or looks suspect.

An ask for sensitive information: Non-optional behavior…never provide personal, credit card, or account info via email, text, or phone.

Poorly written emails: As you may have noticed in your own inbox, typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar are typical of phishing messages.

Generic salutation: Dear User or Dear Member is a giveaway that the email is not legit. Most companies will use your first and last name in the salutation.

The upshot: You don’t want burglars just walking in your door at night, so you lock up before closing for the day. It’s non-optional behavior for all business owners.

We’re suggesting that with cybercrime so common in 2022 that you think the same way regarding your information technology. It’s time for all small to midsize businesses in the Utica area to start taking action to protect themselves from cyber thieves.

In our next post, we’ll discuss what you should do if you are attacked. Remember, it’s not just your business that suffers damage, your client/customer info may also be compromised.

What can you do right away? After looking at the state DFS toolkit, we suggest talking to your employees about phishing emails and inform them what you’ve learned above. That will be an effective start on the road to better cybersecurity.

Until next time,
Your SZW Team

SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.