Ann Marie van den Hurk recently wrote an article, “Hacking happens, so be prepared”, about how information hacking can happen to anyone and does.  People are hesitant to spend money in these economic times, but holding back on security for your network and data is not the place to do it.  WingSwept specializes in network security and data protection in North Carolina and customizes IT plans for small to medium sized businesses.

Ann Marie van den Hurk writes:

“Sony’s PlayStation Network was taken offline for about a month after an attack that compromised its 77 million users’ personal information. In April, the email marketer that handles customer communications for companies including Kroger, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase was hacked.

With companies of such size and resources victimized, what can small businesses do to protect themselves?

First, you must understand the problem. Hacking comes in many forms, such as viruses, malware, password attacks, spoofing, phishing and distributed denial of service attacks, commonly called DDoS.

The two most common attacks are viruses and DDoS. Viruses copy themselves onto your customers’ computers, while DDoS prevents your customers from reaching you because hackers bombard your site’s servers with visits and overwhelm it to the point of not functioning.

The most concerning of these issues is data theft, as it’s costly to resolve and can damage the trust between you and your customers.

Sarah Granger, founder of the Center for Technology, Media and Society and a network security expert, said many companies think they’re saving money by not investing in network security. But it’s just the reverse, as it costs more to be reactive than proactive.

According to a recent study on the cost of data breaches by researcher Ponemon Institute, data breaches cost U.S. companies $204 per compromised customer record in 2009. Data breaches caused by malicious attacks were more costly to resolve.

As a business owner, your goal should be to prepare. Granger strongly urges companies to create disaster recovery plans so that if their data or sites are compromised, they already know what to do.”