How Secure is Your Business?

Transcript of my newsletter from 31st May

Two articles appeared in Wired this week that caught my attention – both relate to online security.

It’s an important subject, given that we increasingly rely on the Internet for our businesses.

If my computer was hacked, or subject to a ransomware attack, I would be in serious trouble.

And if my customers’ websites were hacked, and I wasn’t able to get them back up and running again quickly, they would very unhappy.

So I’m fastidious about keeping my computer, and the websites I manage, as safe and secure as possible. Friends (and some customers) tell me I’m paranoid!

The thing is, though, no website and no computer is ever 100% safe.

If a hacker wants to hack you bad enough, they will, ultimately, succeed – as shown by the first story I’ve linked to this week.

It’s about a firm that offers cyber security services, that was hacked.

You’d think that a firm that sold cyber security services would, itself, be pretty secure. It was, but it was still hacked.

So I don’t think about what I need to do if I’m hacked, I have planned what I will do when I’m hacked.

Having a disaster recovery plan is essential for businesses, large or small, and for individuals, and it’s astounding how many businesses do not have one.

They clearly like living life on the edge!

The first step in creating a disaster recovery plan? Back up. Everything. At least twice. And store it off line so that hackers can’t get at it.

This week’s links

In addition to those security articles, I’ve linked to a listing of 19 recession-proof businesses you could start, and an article on how to ask for reviews of your business.

Lessons from the RSA hack in 2011

The RSA hack in 2011, a stunning story, can finally be told because the 10-year non-disclosure agreements have expired.

This is a long read, but it’s well-worth it. It reads easily and it’s not technical – it’s like a cyber thriller.

Roughly half way through, it reveals exactly how the hackers got into the RSA network through an Australian employee’s personal computer.

From there, they managed to access critical parts of the company and cause havoc.

The thing is, the way that employee used and maintained his computer is exactly the way so many of us do, so it’s a bit of an eye-opener!

Full story of the 2011 RSA hack

The Colonial Pipeline ransomware payment

Ransomware attacks have been around a long time, and pose a growing threat to businesses, government departments and private individuals.

The advice from all quarters to victims of a ransomware attack is not to pay. But the reality is much more complicated and includes the possibility of losing your entire livelihood.

As a result, many businesses pay. It keeps them in business, but it also keeps the ransomware threat alive.

Here’s what happened with the Colonial Pipeline attack:

The Colonial Pipeline ransomware payment

Recession proof businesses

The good news is that some markets are pulling out of the pandemic and business is opening up.

The bad news is that there is a growing shortage of raw materials to support the requirements of many businesses, and government infrastructure projects.

This means the future is still uncertain and could still lead to recession.

In China, for example, some factories in Guangdong have started closing down again and they worry that 2021 will be worse than 2020.

So whether you’re thinking of starting your own gig, or looking for more secure employment, recession proof businesses are a good place to start:

19 recession-proof businesses

How to ask customers for reviews

Reviews and testimonials have always been powerful elements of any business’ marketing activities.

But many, myself included, are shy about asking for them.

Jennifer Post explains why, and how, you should:

How to ask customers for reviews

Fun flashback

Coldplay was formed in 1996, in London. ‘In My Life’, that I’ve linked to this week, was released in 2002 and it was the first time I became aware of them, but I became an instant fan and remain so to this day!

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Martin Malden

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Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.