According to the 2011 Cisco Annual Security Report, sophisticated cyber attacks stole $70 million during an 18-month period from small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. from 2010 to 2011.
Additionally, attacks on mobile devices and popular social media places like Facebook, which is now up to one billion users, are on the rise. You probably have seen news reports about a recent outage at GoDaddy, the massive Web hosting company, which took down millions of websites.
In 2009, Maitjian and Todd Welke, who happen to be my neighbors in Saratoga, started a company called CMIT Solutions of Southwest Silicon Valley.
The Welkes have recently been speaking at various local events about how to safely and securely do social media. Maitjian will share their tips with Saratoga Patch readers in this post.
Michelle (moi): You left fairly lucrative jobs with big name technology companies to start your own business. Why?
Maitjian: After gaining 25 years of experience at large companies, we decided it was time to bring our enterprise-grade IT know-how to small and mid-size companies here in the Silicon Valley. My husband Todd, who runs the business with me, likes to say that starting our own business captures his entrepreneurial spirit, which is definitely present in this community.
Michelle: You say that businesses and individuals should take certain steps to do safe and secure social networking. What is the threat, exactly?
Maitjian: Doing social networking, for example through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn by individuals for pleasure or by businesses for profit for example, to engage and attract customers, is on the rise.
Businesses and individuals should both take steps to secure their social networking accounts because, along with increased social networking, cyber threats are also on the rise.
The main ones are data and identify theft, money laundering, and fraud. Business owners especially need to be concerned because an attack could result in shutting down their businesses.
In fact, seven out of 10 small firms go out of business within a year if they experience a major data loss according to Information Security Breaches Survey, DTI/PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Michelle: What are the top steps people and businesses should take to prevent an attack?
Maijtian: They need to secure three things: network, email, and computers. Computers include smartphones and tablets. Individuals can probably do some of this without help, however, small and mid-size businesses are much better off hiring an IT firm to ensure that these things are purchased, set up and are running properly. We urge companies to have strong user IDs and network passwords, a business-grade firewall, anti-SPAM for e-mail, and a reliable data back up.
Michelle: What will happen if businesses don’t secure their networks, email and computers?
Maitjian: They can lose a lot of really critical data, money and clients.
Michelle: So companies should protect against all sorts of cyber threats, not just those that result from social networking?
Maitjian: Right, increased social networking means more use of computers and networks in general. Businesses should have an enterprise-grade overall IT protection plan in place, one that guards against a variety of threats.
Michelle: What if people want to learn more about getting help in securing their business IT systems?
Maitjian: Small and mid-size business owners from any industry can visit our website at www.cmitsolutions.com/services, or call our new office on Moorpark Drive in San Jose at 408-872-1577. Based in San Jose, we provide IT services for small and mid-size businesses. This includes computer network and mobility support, data backup, disaster recovery planning, cloud computing, and 24/7 help desk support.