As a cyber security professional, I keep myself up-to-date by constantly reading and researching related material. In doing so, I come across endless statistics on the impact of cyber security. One particular statistic that has struck me from day one is that “60% of small businesses that are victims of a cyber attack go out of business within six months”. This is a shockingly high percentage and given the current trends, it may get even worse.
As a VA you are busy enough as is. So why should you really care about cyber security? Let me give you five reasons:
“One breach is one too many” is a common phrase in the cyber security world. It is imperative that we consider the negative impact a cyber attack can have on our business. Defending against cyber attacks is getting trickier, but oftentimes such attacks are caused by negligent behavior that is certainly avoidable.
If you are like most small businesses who rely on referrals and word-of-mouth, your reputation is key. Don’t let a cyber attack drag you down and leave a long-lasting stain on your hard-earned reputation.
“Members shall protect any confidential information obtained in the performance of their duties, and shall not use such information for personal gain nor in a manner that would be detrimental to their client or any other party.” (Code of Ethics – IVAA)
As a VA, you are often entrusted with highly sensitive and critical data. It is your duty and responsibility to ensure that this information is kept safe for as long as it is in your hands.
Quite often, you will seek out help from other team members and provide access to your client’s data and/or systems. You may also lean on various third-party systems/software to help you accomplish your tasks. These may increase the risk inflicted on your clients and it is your job to ensure it is handled as safely and professionally as possible. At the end of the day, you hold the keys to many castles and hackers are aware of that. Your team is a target and you should do whatever it takes to safeguard your operations.
3. Competitive edge
Business owners are forced to open their eyes to possible security breaches as they are unfolding all around us. Staying on top of healthy cyber security practices and taking the right measures to safeguard your operations can give you a competitive edge over your competition. It can be the reason you land your next contract.
As a VA you are likely busy enough as is, and the last thing you want is for your business to go down for several days – or even weeks – following a cyber attack. Ransomware, a malicious attack whereby your data gets locked down (encrypted) until you pay the attacker, has been growing rapidly over the years. Every business is a target for Ransomware and the results are extremely damaging with astronomical financial implications.
Your clients rely on you to be there for them and it is crucial that you take the steps necessary to never let cyber attacks drag you, or your clients, down.
Whilst your clients are often confined to their own practice, as a VA you are exposed to a vast array of companies and industries. Clients therefore rely on your guidance and experience. One way you can add further value to your clients is by informing and helping them implement the necessary security measures before the next attack.
Omer Segoly is the Managing Director at TECHTONE, a Vancouver company that provides IT services and tech support.
Learn more at techtone.ca.