Understanding how much cybersecurity is right for you.
When I was young my brother and I would occasionally get to listen to some of my dad’s LPs on the record player. We’d sit on the living room floor, with a sinking sun blazing through the West-facing window of our little farmhouse. Growing up in the country we didn’t spend a lot of time with music or electronics, and we certainly had no problem with cybersecurity!
One of the songs we listened to when we got the chance goes a little like this; “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” You may remember it as well. Nowadays as I routinely meet with entrepreneurs and business owners, I feel a little like the gambler; when it comes to technology, data and systems security I can see they’re out of aces and so I give them some advice. It goes like this.
Data may be the most valuable thing you own, and so you’ve got to know when to hold it tight. Keep it secret, keep it safe. Why else do you think so many people want your data? They want to know about you, know how to reach you, market to you, understand you, and sometimes to be you. As an entrepreneur you don’t get the option to walk or run away, and rarely can you fold ‘em. The only remaining option left is to know what you’re holding and don’t let your eyes give away what your cards are.
What does data do for you anyway?
Data (and access to it) is still growing globally, and we add to it every day. Interactions on the web, on social media, doing research, posting content, exploring our hobbies, watching TV (on the farm we had 2 channels…so primitive). In business, it plays an even greater role in ensuring you make the best decisions with the best information at the right price. The problem we entrepreneurs face, however, is that we feel like we’re gambling with all the tools, data, software and security available. We want the best, but which one is right for me? We want to be safe, but I’m relying on others not to click on the wrong links. We want our clients to build better lives, but they’re hung up on whether to move accounting to the cloud or not. It feels like gambling, yet we already risk enough of our time and money for an idea that we think, even maybe just hope will make the world a better place.
I’m not a worrisome fellow at all, nor do I prey on others fears, but I know this much: my data is at risk. If I lose it, I lose the years of intellectual property I’ve built; the trust that my clients have in us keeping them safe; the ability to connect and relate to others as I am, not just how someone wants me to look online. If I under protect myself, someone will abuse my data. If I overprotect, I won’t have the resources to do what I want. Somewhere in between those two is the right spot for me, and the right spot for you. Here are the things I believe about data and accounting for entrepreneurs. Maybe they’ll help you understand when to hold ‘em a little better:
Belief #1. The right cloud is safer than my computer.
I’ve had a number of clients tell me they are scared to go to the cloud with their bookkeeping data because of how unsafe it is. Yet the only businesses I’ve talked to who had their data unrecoverable from a ransomware attack are those who didn’t have a good cloud backup and monitoring system….it was held on the computer in their office or home. It wasn’t safe and they weren’t using the right tools for their business.
Belief #2. Always be aware of where you are.
There are parts of the world that you might visit and not feel safe. So, you hide your wallet, keep your valuables close, and keep a sharp eye out for anything suspicious. You’re aware that your current location has some elevated risk to what needs protecting. The same idea goes for technology! Be aware of where you are, what you’re clicking, what you’re signing up for, and who is interacting with you. Simply being aware of what should be happening in a given situation is often enough to help you spot what is out of place.
Belief #3. Don’t be afraid, be ready.
I haven’t played poker for a few years now, but I remember the feeling of placing a wager when I didn’t think I had the best cards. My heart starts beating a little harder, my senses go on edge, and my awareness of what my body is doing seems to over-communicate with my brain. I’m sure there’s a twitch in my left eye that gives me away every time. The more ready you are for situations like that, the less afraid you become. With cybersecurity, especially for those who don’t spend much time in that world, I understand the instant fear of living online. What if, what if, what if? Find someone who can help you navigate the what-ifs and get you feeling ready.
Belief #4. I am in the business of keeping people safe.
Hundreds of people and entrepreneurs trust our firm to keep their financial data, as well as their future data, safe. We do this is many ways that you may not have thought about before.
- We pay attention to their business all year long to ensure they aren’t straying off the path.
- We use high-security programming on our internal systems.
- We create tools that guide our team and our clients through the journey that we call a business.
- We continue learning so that we are ready, not afraid.
- We ask our clients how we’re doing so that we know where we are.
- We live on the cloud with only the best structure in place.
- We create plans and strategies to ensure each business, and each person behind the business can grow healthy every day.
So, the dealin’ is done, and you now know what your cards are. Are you ready to play the hand and move your business to growing and healthy? We use strategic accounting and advice to help entrepreneurs get what they need from their business. You can have that too.