The New Age Of Getting Hacked

Security is taking on a whole new meaning now. There are still all of the general concerns about physical security risks and the need to secure credit card transactions with the new chip card systems. Now, everything’s connected digitally too, it’s not just a new-age-y saying, it’s true that even the smallest businesses depend on either a computer or a tablet to handle business transactions.

Arguably, that makes your digital devices and connection the weak points that bring digital security risks into your business. You have to protect customer information and credit card numbers; you need to have an emergency recovery plan if your system should be compromised or shut down by cyber criminals.

The difference between secure and vulnerable digital systems is often a matter of policy and practices. You can keep your gym a little safer by controlling the behavior of the people who work in your gym.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong When You Click The Link

I cannot stress enough how dangerous malicious links are to your system. Threats come in through your network, the web, email, and now through Internet-connected gym equipment and wearables. Hackers can attack your security camera if it’s a webcam, connected equipment, tablets, computers, and servers.

The risks are that hackers can steal your customer information and exploit it in bad ways. That cannot be a good thing, whether your members find out or not. Criminals can also take over your computer and destroy your files or hold them hostage.

Your Gym Business Security Policies

The defense: never, ever, ever open a link in an email you were not expecting or did not request. Instead, if you think it relates to you go to the website and log in there. Use common sense and strong passwords, which means using combinations of mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Sign up for a cloud backup service.

You may be thinking that yours is just a small business with a few loyal customers. But you do use the Internet, email, and keep your accounts online. You may also have webcams, printers, thermostats (thank your trendy landlord) and, yes even light fixtures that are now vulnerable to attack by hackers. Wearables come with the latest threat attached.

Create a security policy that includes responding to the digital threats, and train your staff to put it into practice. Security training should be part of the onboarding process when new employees join your team. The basics are strong passwords, resist clicking links, backup to the cloud, and keep software up-to-date on everything.

Train your staff not to click on links in email messages or unfamiliar websites and back up your files. Clamp down on access to access, develop a clear, consistent security policy and make sure all of your people know it. Don’t give staff more access than they need; hackers seek to get administrator privileges, so the less access there is out there means less risk.

Include Off Site Back Up And Updates In The Plan

Backing up on-site is a good practice, but if hackers compromise your network, you will lose these too. Back up your files off-site. There are some excellent services for this from the most basic consumer service to enterprise level repository.

Services like Carbonite, which charges by the user, are best for startups and individuals. As you add users the cost scales in a straight line, one that goes up and to the right. More elaborate B2B cloud services include versioning and other controls so that you can go back in time.

Make sure if you have devices that connect to the Internet, they also update to the latest software. Connected equipment that does not update has been one of the causes of recent attacks. Replace older devices that cannot accept updated software.

All is not lost; this may seem like a heavy post, but as a business, you need to know how to protect yourself. It is just one more hazard of the modern world. If you take the attitude that prevention is the best cure, do some research, develop a security policy, and make sure your team members understand security risks and their responsibilities.

Bibliography

Brandom, Russell. How do you fix the Internet of Things? A better router. January 7, 2017. http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/3/14124662/norton-core-router-announced-smart-home-security-ces-2017 (accessed January 7, 2017).

Calvillo, Jose. Does Your Member Data Security Meet Today’s PCI Compliance Standards? June 4, 2015. http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2015/06/does-your-member-data-security-meet-todays-pci-compliance-standards/ (accessed January 7, 2017).

Dominic, Anthony. Wearables Present New Privacy and Security Risks, Report Says. December 21, 2016. http://clubindustry.com/manufacturers/wearables-present-new-privacy-and-security-risks-report-says (accessed January 7, 2017).

Fagan, Lawrence. Credit Card Liability And You. May 22, 2015. http://blog.gyminsight.com/3361-credit-card-liability-and-you/ (accessed April 30, 2016).

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