Technology infuses every successful business and nearly every function, making us more productive and efficient. But technology also creates a certain unease: We never know what will go wrong, or when.

We can be certain, however, that things will go wrong.

Now is a good time to review the potential issues — and find ways to prevent or protect against them – as October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security:

No one is immune from cyber attack, including the smallest businesses. In fact, they are sometimes more vulnerable because they don’t have staff assigned to information technology. Significantly, businesses with fewer than 250 employees were the target of 31 percent of all cyber attacks.[i]

Data breaches are not a mere annoyance. Nearly 45 percent of cyber attacks involve the loss of clients’ or customers’ names, passwords, and email addresses.[ii] When that happens, they look to you to make them whole. Even if their information was not hacked, they will expect you to protect them by supplying services to alert them if their bank accounts and other information is compromised.

Most cyber security problems are the result of malicious intent, with 76.8 percent of incidents caused by activities by people outside the targeted organization, according to “Risk Based Security, An Executive’s Guide to Data Breach Trends in 2012.

And protecting against that loss, along with the rest of a cyber attack aftermath, is becoming more expensive. One study showed that response costs following a breach — involving legal, regulatory, client identity protection services, among others — reached an average of $1.6 million per incident.[iii]

Breaches are more expensive per capita for smaller organizations, which pay $1,607 per employee, vs. the $437 of larger firms.[iv]

Unfortunately, the […]