Welcome back to our ‘Protect Your Business’ series as we continue celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness month! This month we’re increasing our focus on security centered content and covering topics that will help you to protect your critical business data.

Last week, we’ve covered the biggest cyber security threats. Be sure to check out that post here!

Today, we’re talking about security breaches in small business. While they may know the importance of cyber security, the realities of what a breach looks like are an unknown quantity for most people. They know it’s bad, but that doesn’t mean they understand the complexities of the threat, and how disruptive – and expensive – it can be.

Man at his computer experiencing a security breach

So let’s look at how a security breach might impact the way a small business operates day to day, and see if you can recognize yourself in their challenges.

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Real Estate Firms Face Multiple Security Threats

A real estate transaction typically requires you to offer up your most sensitive information, from your social security number to your annual income and credit score. What’s more, there’s a large sum of money changing hands. Imagine the risk to your agent’s and their business if that data were to be breached.

For real estate firms, a breach seriously threatens the critical trust relationship between buyers/sellers and their agents. It’s also more common than you might think. While undercover hackers accessing your system are the risk most people imagine first, it isn’t the only one, or even the most common.

Agents have reported that they’ve experienced people posing as closing agents, property managers or even homeowners in order to steal confidential information or funds. But even simple human error can cause a breach that can do damage. A team member leaving sensitive information in the printer tray, or simply misplacing a single document during a transaction can derail a relationship and break the trust the agent/broker has worked hard to establish.

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Mobile Technology is Having a Huge Impact on the Legal Industry

What about the law firm handling your transaction? The legal industry is known for being paper intensive (just ask anyone who has ever signed a contract). And naturally, the information contained in those piles of papers is highly sensitive. Not only do these documents need to be securely stored and managed, but legal teams also need to be able to securely transfer them outside the office, all while ensuring they are easily accessible at a moment’s notice.

If not, cases can be delayed, client information can be compromised, and the entire office comes to a screeching halt. A security breach from a misplaced document, an improperly accessed system, or a non-secure transfer can cost a small firm time, money, and damage the client relationship irretrievably.

Just imagine the damage a breach could do to your relationship with your customers. Think about the kind of data you store. What would happen if it were to fall into the wrong hands? How would that affect your office productivity? What would it do to your relationship with your customers? What would the tangible costs be – and would you be able to recover? With the average cost per lost or stolen record is $154 (and a whopping $363 in the healthcare industry), imagine how quickly the costs of a breach can add up.

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Protect Your Data, Protect Your Business

These two examples show why so many SMBs are looking to Document Management Services (DMS) to protect their data and information as well as to help reassure their customers their information is safe.

Check out this video below for a closer look at today’s information security threats:

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(From the editor: This article was originally published on Small Business Solutions)