small-business-loss-prevention-tips|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.com your laptop? Your attention wandered? No problem, that’s totally understandable, but it will cost your business almost $50,000. Paying attention now?

When you add all the costs up, losing one laptop could cost your business $49,246. That’s according to an article on, which draws upon statistics compiled by insurance provider Travelers. There’s obviously the expense of replacing the laptop, lost productivity and an investigation into how it happened, but the big costs come from losing intellectual property (roughly $5,800) and data breaches (nearly $40,000).

How can you protect your small business against such a crippling blow? To help protect your business against most cybercrime threats, follow these four tips: update, back up data, encrypt and lock.

  1. Update your website regularly: Perhaps your company’s website doesn’t change often, but you still need to regularly apply the latest security updates, as threats are constantly evolving. With many platforms to choose from, applying these updates is easy. Just log into your website’s control panel at least once a week, save a working backup and then update the site.
  2. Back up your data offsite: Maybe your business gets hit by hackers in a cyber-theft. Or perhaps someone actually breaks into your building and steals electronic devices. In either case, you have protection if your data is backed up offsite and away from your office. When you use offsite backup with a cloud services provider, your data can’t be lost.
  3. Encrypt your sensitive data: Whether your data is stored online or on a local hard drive, make sure you’re encrypting it. When choosing an encryption service, security experts insist on open-source programs like TrueCrypt, according to the article on This might seem counter-intuitive, but it ensures the encryption does not have a backdoor which cyber thieves can exploit.
  4. Develop a strong password strategy: Many find it impossible to create unique passwords for every website they use, let alone regularly change them. Tools like LastPass can help you generate unique, secure passwords without memorization, using a cloud-based password database. According to the article, this database uses military-grade encryption and other safeguards, and can integrate with fingerprint readers and many other protection options.

Security is crucial, whether your business is large or small; these four tips should get you started. Every company is different, however, so you may wish to also consult with an IT security expert about your unique needs.

What steps have you taken to make sure your business is secure? We’d love to hear what’s worked for you.

Source:, February 2013