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Over the next weeks as we enter into 2016, we will be looking at security, which should be your small business’s number one priority in entering the new year.

McAffee predicts, that by 2020, there will be 44.0 zettabytes of data, compared to the 8.8ZB in 2015.  Think about all the devices in your house that connect to a network. You have your basics: phone, tablet, computer. Then, you have your Smart TV, sound system or AV device and maybe a printer or copier. What about your refrigerator that allows you to stream music or connect to a calendar? Or your vehicle that allows you to surf the Internet via a monitor, access traffic information, and even social media. Another huge game-changer is wearables; watches, fitbits etc. All of these devices connect to the network, all are creating data, and all put you and your home or office at risk for security breaches.

What’s so dangerous about wearables?

McAffee predicts on growth in volume and types of devices, that by 2018, there will be 780M New Wearable Device types. Why would a cyber criminal possibly want to know how many steps you took today? Well, your fitbit is directly connected to your smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth low energy technology. If a hacker can tap into your wearable, they have a direct line to your smartphone or tablet. These wearable devices also collect GPS data, which is especially attractive to cyber criminals. They now know the neighborhood you live in, the shops you visit, and other routine actions. Personal data is the ultimate honey pot for cyber criminals. The amount of personal data that is collected, stored, and shared by these wearables is astonishing. Not to say you shouldn’t go out and buy the latest in technology, but be diligent in managing your safety and security.

Cyber attacks will only continue to grow

McAffee reports that 48% find it likely that a cyberattack will take down critical infrastructure with potential loss of life. With the growing surface area, cyber attacks are growing exponentially.  Chip manufacturers are trying to integrate more security into chips on phones, laptops, tablets, etc. This would add another layer of security, but of course, hackers will soon learn how to navigate past these layers. It is a constant uphill battle with security.

Did you know the United States is the second most cyber-attacked country in the world? (the first being Russia). Check out this real time map of cyber attacks happening all over the world. If you weren’t worried about security now, you should be. Tune in next week, where we will talk about what all these predictions mean for your small business.

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