Brookside ENT and Hearing Center was a small medical practice in Battle Creek, Michigan until it was hacked and held for ransom by cyber criminals.
Dr. William Scalf told local news that a ransomware attack had debilitated his office computer systems and the hackers demanded $6,500 in exchange for access to the files. The two owners of the practice, Dr. Scalf and Dr. John Bizon, decided not to pay the ransom as there was no guarantee that the attackers would not demand more money later.
When no payment was made, the attackers followed through on their threats and irretrievably deleted all files on the system. Sadly, the partners decided to take early retirement rather than attempt to rebuild their practice from scratch. As of April, Brookside ENT and Hearing Center is no more.
Unfortunately, this kind of story is becoming depressingly common. According to National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small businesses fold within 6 months of a cyber-attack.
The cybersecurity threat landscape is evolving; the bad guys are getting better at what they do, and they are finding increasingly more creative ways to gain access to valuable data from businesses. Knowingly or not, businesses are assuming more risk than ever before; with legal precedent struggling to keep pace, it is critical that SMBs are thoroughly educated on all of the risks associated with their business to protect themselves in the event of a cyber incident. As the trusted advisor and Managed IT Services provider for our clients, GFC knows that a multi-layered security approach is the only way to increase the level of protection for a business.
The Threat is Growing
Cities and municipalities have been particularly targeted. Atlanta was hit by a devastating ransomware attack in March 2018, knocking almost all of the city’s agencies offline with an estimated recovery cost to the city of $17 million. This summer, the city of Baltimore had many essential services offline for weeks leaving officials unable to process payments and even respond to emails. Other ransomware attacks have hit Greenville, North Carolina; Imperial County, California; Stuart, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; Augusta, Maine; Lynn, Massachusetts; and Cartersville, Georgia.
At GFC, we talk with many business owners who feel like they are simply too small to be a target for cybercrime. They imagine that as a small business the bad guys don’t care about their data. The truth is, they could be right—the bad guys don’t care about their data—but cybercriminals are counting on the fact that business owners do care and they’ll likely do whatever it takes to get their data back. Think about your clients’ and employees’ data, the impact to them, and your reputation and bottom line. Wouldn’t you pay a ransom to get it back?
What to Do About the Threat
Because of the cyber security threat landscape evolution, information security is now something SMBs are being forced to embrace whereas historically, it was barely addressed. Traditionally, IT Teams or even Managed Services Providers have been focused on information technology, not information security. But we have recognized that a successful, proactive strategy towards managing all aspects of your information systems includes a multi-layered cybersecurity approach.
In the event of a devastating cybersecurity attack, large organizations have the dedicated resources to respond including PR, legal, IT, employees and financial resources. SMB’s lack these resources and are at greater risk of significant impact to their business operations and even lead to SMBs closing their doors as a result. Cyber criminals know that SMBs are vulnerable and are preying on your livelihood.
This is why GFC has made cybersecurity a mandatory component of our Managed IT Services offering. If you’re looking for a modern, multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, leverage the knowledge of a Managed IT provider that specializes in helping SMBs deploy world-class cybersecurity services. Reach out to the team at the Gordon Flesch Company today and be sure to check out our interactive quiz below for more insights.