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Edition 334 – Cyber Outages

Most small and family businesses think their IT investment should consist of new computers every few years and some anti-virus software. That’s it! No plan. No dedicated infrastructure renewal programme. Nothing to worry about, it seems, until something no longer works. Yet, all they’re thinking about is if something breaks. What about if you’re attacked from outside? Or even inside?

In my opinion, most small and family businesses are not prepared for a targeted cyber attack on their business. Whilst we hear of large corporates that are targetted, then subject to ransom demands for the release of stolen data, we don’t hear of what’s happening in the small business space.

What I find somewhat concerning is the amount of sensitive data that is held within small and family businesses. For instance:

  1. Personal information including names, dates of birth, Medicare numbers, bank accounts and Tax File Numbers.
  2. Copies of plans for major infrastructure sites including power stations, water facilities, hospitals and schools.
  3. Information that is important to the safe and effective function of Governments and/or larger organisations.

Some of this you possess merely by employing staff.

Some of this you possess as a result of the work you do in your business each and every day and the type of clients you do work with.

Yet, for the great part, most businesses almost totally neglect their IT and the need to protect the information they retain from any cyber outage or attack, either externally or internally.

If you’re targetted in a cyber attack, remember, it’s not just the downtime and, heaven forbid, any potential ransom you’re talking about.  You may also be sued by your client for breach of contract or your staff for a breach of their privacy, should any important data that you hold, be stolen from you and prejudice the position of those clients or staff.

In my own small business, I’m happy to pay for an ongoing relationship with a great IT consultancy, Red 21 ( I’m super confident of the work they do each and every day to protect my business from external threats. The fact they’ve helped me out in the past when things have gone pear shaped, such as unexpected hardware failure or the NBN being disconnected by a rogue contractor in my own suburb, speaks volumes for not only their skill set, but also for their business model of dealing with clients strategically, not reactively.  Being an ongoing client, help is forthcoming when I need it.

This Week’s Tip

 ” If only business owners spent as much time on their IT and the potential risks involved
as they do on buying their next car.”