Ever have a fraudulent charge appear on your credit card statement? Now imagine having your entire identity stolen. Your social insurance number, business ID number, access to your personal and business bank accounts, retirement accounts – swiped out from under you. Your personal and business cards can be maxed out too. What’s worse, you could lose your client database, financial records, and all of the work files your company has ever produced or compiled. That’s identity theft.
Now imagine what would happen if you had to invest an enormous amount of time, money, effort, and energy to try to restore your credit and good reputation. Think about how much your business would suffer if one day your payroll money or the money you use to pay vendors was stolen out from under you. Or, what if an online criminal stole your identity and used it to pull off other criminal acts?
While it may be difficult to determine the actual financial impact identity theft would have on your business, you can’t deny the fact that it would have a negative effect. Cash most definitely IS king. And if yours is stolen and used by a cyber-criminal, the emotional toll such an event would have on you personally would certainly impact your business, even if you haven’t put a pencil to figuring out the exact cost.
Canadians lost more than $16M to identity fraud last year, and that number is low because only 13% of identity fraud cases are ever reported. The worldwide dollar amount of identity fraud over the past two years is in excess of $100 BILLION. Yikes!
Many small business owners tend to ignore or simply don’t know about taking steps to secure their personal and companyinformation on their network from online hijacks. By then it’s too late and the damage is done.
With the constant changes to technology and the never ending daily development of new threats, it takes a highly-trained technician to secure even a simple 3 to 5 person network; however, the cost of hiring a full-time and experienced technician is just not feasible for most small business owners.
Cyber-attacks on Small Business rose by over 300% in 2013, so it may be only a matter of time before an online hacker finds his way into your network and steals your information. If you’re lucky, it will only cost you a little downtime; but there’s always a chance you could end up being seriously impacted.
Given that it takes the average victim of identity theft more than 600 hours to get their lives back together, protecting yourself and your business from Identity Theft cannot be taken lightly.
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.
Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730.
Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com