"For businesses, any disruption in service can cause serious damage," said Francis Dinha, CEO of OpenVPN, Inc. "Not only is there harm to the actual business in terms of potential legal issues, clients could be lost forever if they believe their personal information is not safe with that business."
A study commissioned by Bank of America Merchant Services shows that 31% of small businesses that reported a data breach spent more than $50,000 to resolve the issue, not to mention the potential cost and reputational harm a data breach can inflict.
"What the criminals do is they hijack a bunch of computers sending a variety of data packets to bring down a small business site," Dinha explained. "Think of it as a lot of traffic that jams access to your business."
This kind of attack is called a DDOS, he explained, or a "Denial of Service Attack." And just like a traffic jam, it can be started with just one careless driver – or in this case – employee.
"Having one of your employees surfing a seemingly harmless website could unexpectedly download malicious software to your computer system, which in turn, can shut your entire business operation down," said Gary McCloud, VP of Business Development for OpenVPN.
Why? Because even a "secured" wifi is simply not as safe as it sounds.
Dinha says, "Yes, a 'secured wifi' may exist through a 3rd party provider, but the encryption is not all that safe."
The BofA Study showed that 20% of consumers would never return to a business if they knew their personal data had been compromised. Even the federal government has set up a slew of online safety guidelines for small businesses, recognizing the danger and potential threat to businesses that employ between 20 and 100 employees.
"While the large companies have an infrastructure to prevent cyber attacks, some of the small to medium sized businesses are the ones who can be the most vulnerable if they don't protect themselves using additional security measures," Dinha said.
His recommendation is to employ the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts information on the way to a site and then re-encrypts it on the way back. His company, OpenVPN and its small business product Private Tunnel prevent more than 1 million cyber attacks each day. Private Tunnel (https://privatetunnel.com) is a simple download and compatible across all major operating systems, including mobile, laptop and desktops for as little as $6 a month.
Small Business Saturday, started in 2010 to support smaller businesses, nestled itself in between Black Friday, traditionally a big box store event and Cyber Monday, when shoppers would find the biggest sales online.
"However, we all know this year, the so-called shopping calendar has completely changed," said Dinha. "Cyber Monday deals are already underway, and there's no way to 'undo' a cyber attack," he said. "Once it happens, it could damage your company irreparably."
About OpenVPN, Inc.
OpenVPN, Inc., is used by more than 100,000 businesses worldwide and its consumer and small business product, Private Tunnel, prevent more than one million cyber attacks each day. The award-winning open source VPN protocol has been downloaded more than 50 million times, worldwide.
SOURCE OpenVPN, Inc.