15 Mar Managed IT Services: Is Your Small Business Data Protected?
The mass amount of bulk informational content on individuals is called metadata. This compilation of metadata is the grid-based story of your life and actions. Some of this data is public and can be used by businesses for many reasons, most of which is sales-based.
You may see websites which contain ads for products you have recently viewed elsewhere online. However, there is another level to the use of metadata, which is much more controversial. This data is not only made up of one’s public information, it also compiles private information.
Web Traffic Data
Public entities, such as websites and small business owners, cannot access one’s private data. They simply purchase web-traffic data which is legally permitted. Federal regulations prohibit telecommunications service providers from releasing private user information data. However, the entities who have access to the IT Infrastructure and can see every piece of grid-based data on any subject are law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Why does that matter? Metadata compiles facts about what one does but these facts do not necessarily dictate conclusions.
For example, at 8:07 am, someone was robbed between the 8th street train stop and a coffee shop two blocks from the train. Billy got on the 7th street train at 7 am according to his transit card. On the way to 8th street, Billy uses his smartphone to search for Internet articles related to “The best ways to rob someone on the street.” He gets off the train on 18th street at 8 am and a few minutes later at 8:15 am, buys a product from a coffee shop, two blocks from the train using his credit card.
Since Billy’s documented metadata via his smartphone GPS, transit card, bank account transaction, and Internet search history all show a pattern of events which seem to put him in the right place at the right time to have committed the crime, law enforcement officials have good reason to consider Billy as a prime suspect. Billy is detained by the police and having no alibi besides the data used against him, poor Billy is convicted.
In actuality, Billy did not commit the robbery, nor did the other dozens of passengers who came off the train along with him. The real robber in this scenario was a child pickpocket and street urchin who is long gone. Billy is an Internet blogger writing an article on self-defense tactics. Even though all of Billy’s metadata supported a theory of his involvement, the government flagging algorithm for metadata traffic cannot assess motive.
Individuals become names on a list of possible suspects for no other evidence than is circumstantial. Regardless of the facts, enforcement agents will assess one’s guilt based on an algorithmic bias. This example is a real-world situation, used here to show how metadata is used and how it can easily be misinterpreted or, if stolen, manipulated to suit someone’s more sinister intentions.
Hacking Small Business Owners
The book Hacking Exposed 7, by Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray and George Kurtz, opens with this warning and plea:
“We implore you… take this warning seriously. We must understand how the bad guys work and employ countermeasures…, or we will continue to be slaughtered, and our futures supremely compromised, until we do.”
Small businesses, especially those which are based on telecommunications capabilities, stand to lose everything from cyber attacks. According to the US National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small businesses who experience an attack on their digital IT infrastructure are unable to stay in business after six months.
On average, these attacks cost $600,000 for a small business to recover. For companies in the middle-market, this can cost on average upwards of $1 million. The more user data a company collects, the more attractive they are as a target for hackers. Hackers target sensitive user data such as bank account details, phone numbers, Internet passwords, and social security numbers.
After a hacker has copied a large amount of private information in bulk, they sell this data on the black market to entities who are interested in maliciously using it. These attacks commonly target financial officials through email viruses and remote access Trojan horses.
The sad fact is, Black Hat Hackers are incentivized to outsmart web-security software. They are always on the offensive. Small businesses are like someone painting a picture in the middle of the battlefield, always on the defensive but always preoccupied. This is where your managed IT services come into play. They are the special force for small business IT security, always on the offensive, and able to set traps for enemy hackers. You wouldn’t put your money in a safe without a lock, so don’t subject your business to cyber attacks by failing to sufficiently defend your network.
Managed IT Services
Small businesses can benefit by upgrading their IT security and cyber support systems by looking into computer surveillance technologies. Using computer surveillance in small business workplaces can increase the response time for an IT support team to address inconsistencies and alerts in the network.
One of the best ways to prevent malicious malware, Trojan horses, and other spyware, is to hire a managed IT service who will build a core IT infrastructure with computer monitoring surveillance of the network. Build and maintain a strong IT infrastructure to constantly fortify your networks cyber security.
For more information on how to strengthen your IT security against cyber attacks, contact Anova IT for solutions and IT services. Don’t become a victim of cyber theft. Remove yourself from the easy-target list by implementing IT solutions.