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|Monday, May 05, 2014|
BY DON MORRISON | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
You’ve grown and nurtured your business, and you want to protect it. But, in today’s world of the internet and technology, installing an alarm system is no longer enough to secure your company. While the technology renaissance we have gone through has certainly benefited consumers and businesses alike, it’s also brought a new vulnerability with it – the emergence of cybercrime.
Cybercrime…it seems like such a simple word, however its simple identifier fails to portray the true magnitude of its risks. For the most part, cybercrime falls into one of two categories, digital piracy and broader information attacks.
Digital piracy involves the illegal duplication, sale or use of unlicensed software. This could be as basic as installing a program on two computers when you only hold one license, or as complex as a crime ring producing counterfeit versions of the latest Windows operating system. Meanwhile, information attacks involve a broad range of tactics that may involve malware, viruses and other means to glean data, or personal information, from a target.
We all know running a business, especially a small business, is challenging and it’s normal to look for ways to cut costs – especially when it comes to IT. And digital pirates prey upon this behavior. Digital piracy is one area where the old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is,” definitely rings true.
You may even ask, “Well, Don, is it really so terrible to download the same software on two computers?” The answer is yes. Utilizing a single software license on two devices means only one device will receive the regular security updates and patches from the manufacturer, opening your network to increased risk from information attacks. And software found online for far below market value is also likely pirated, and may include malware and viruses. In fact, in their study, The Link between Pirated Software and Cybersecurity Breaches, IDC recently found that U.S. businesses are expected to spend $22 billion in 2014 dealing with security issues associated with pirated software.
Meanwhile, information attacks involve a broad range of tactics that may involve malware, viruses and other means to glean data from a target – and are not always associated with pirated software. While piracy often involves a tangible asset, information attacks are much more subvert and hard to identify.
So you say, “Don’t worry Don, I’m a small business, cybercriminals are after the big fish in the water.” Wrong again. Criminals are increasingly targeting SMBs who often do not have the same level of security or are less likely to ensure machines have all the latest updates. And data breaches are expected to cost U.S. businesses another $75.5 billion in 2014, according to IDC. With information attacks increasingly being led by organized crime syndicates and sophisticated operations, their effectiveness and risk to businesses continues to climb. For the U.S., 93 percent of business losses are expected to be the result of criminal organizations.
Both digital piracy and information attacks bring with them their own unique range of IT threats for businesses, and while they may overlap at times, each requires its own security measures. Just because a business purchases only legal genuine software, doesn’t mean they are immune from the risks of information attacks. Meanwhile, that amazing deal you got on productivity software may include hidden malware and bots designed to siphon off customer data and account information without your knowledge.
“Great Don, you have my attention, but what can I do?” The good answer is all businesses, despite their size, can decrease their risk of being the victim of cybercrime – without breaking the bank! With three simple steps, you can secure your IT network and protect your business from today’s cybercriminals.
Ultimately, knowledge is power, and a few simple steps can have a tremendous impact on your information security. Technology is an area where if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is – and a little commonsense goes a long way.
Don Morrison, Director of U.S. Anti-Piracy at Microsoft, resides in Portland, Ore.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex fast changing business environment.
Update: We checked in with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who offers his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG
For Far West Fibers, one of Oregon's largest and oldest mixed-recycling companies, garbage alchemy has long been big business.
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