As small business owners we try to save money every chance we get. From the computers we buy to the coupons we give at the retail counter and more. However sometimes our frugality can be the cause of some serious security issues.
In a recent survey Lenovo’s research found that small businesses (that’s me and you) in an effort to be frugal are saving data on USB thumb drives, which can easily be lost or stolen. Tsaving not just any data, but often very confidential data.
The survey found out that we’re also using shared WiFi connections. Instead of paying the $50 – $100 or more for our own Internet connections we are borrowing WiFi from our neighbors. This means your traffic is flowing over someone else’s pipe. Which means with the right tools they can peek at your data.
The survey had some pretty interesting (and frightening) information.
Data on USB thumb drives
Despite the consequences of data loss, the survey indicates that many small businesses are backing up critical business data using highly disposable and insecure methods:
While 40 percent of small businesses back up files to external hard drives, an alarming 50 percent of respondents said they or their company use USB thumb drives and CDs/DVDs to backup important information.
Other secure and cost-effective means of data storage, such as web-based cloud storage, were seldom used by the small businesses surveyed:
While 43 percent of respondents are at least somewhat familiar with cloud computing, only 13 percent say they are using an online storage service – the least of all backup methods cited.
For many respondents, WiFi in their home or office is the primary means of connecting to the Internet with their company-issued laptop. However, some respondents admitted to connecting to unsecured WiFi networks (“piggybacking”) in order to conduct business:
25 percent of respondents reported they or someone in their company piggyback other available WiFi networks to conduct business.
Almost one in five senior-level executives (17 percent) and proprietor/owners (17 percent) surveyed say they piggyback on wireless networks.