Risky Behavior: How does your state rank in “cyber hygiene”?


From password sharing to failing to back up data to not checking URLs before clicking through, there are risky behaviors that leave consumers more vulnerable to identity theft. And some states are worse that others, when it comes to cybersecurity, according to a new report by the Ponemon Institute that ranks each state based on “cyber hygiene.”


The report, “The Cyber Hygiene Index: Measuring the Riskiest States,” is based on a survey of 4,290 consumers across all 50 states. The Cyber Hygiene Index (CHI) attempts to measure consumers’ ability to protect themselves from various criminal attacks, especially in the online environment. The index provides a score ranging from +37 points (highest possible CHI) to -39 points (lowest possible CHI).


Turns out Florida comes out dead last, with a score of -6.29.  Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico Illinois round out the bottom five. New Hampshire ends up with a best score of 4.29, and together with Massachusetts, Utah, Rhode Island and Minnesota make up the top five.  But regardless of where they live, it turns out most people are just terrible at cybersecurity. Only backing up data had a positive response rate: 51% say that they back up their data. No other activity was claimed by even one-third of those responding and some, like “have a different password for each account” were chosen by as few as 9% of respondents nationwide. In fact, for individuals in the bottom half of respondents with the most risky behavior, nearly half (49 percent) shared passwords regularly, and only 7 percent update their operating system software on a monthly basis (for security patches and other updates).


Why does cyber hygiene matter? Because identify theft is a leading cause of financial fraud, and poor computer behavior and hygiene are leading sources of stolen identities. To help retailers identify compromised credentials, that can be used to exploit employees and customers, SYMBITS has added ID Agent’s Dark Web ID to its suite of monitoring services. Dark Web ID combines human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with search capabilities to identify, analyze and proactively monitor for compromised or stolen employee and customer data. By focusing on real threats, Dark Web automates security, fraud and incident response for retailers Dark Web ID can be added to SYMBITs around the clock monitoring services, designed to proactively prevent issues, complemented by 24//7/365 Help Desk, staffed by techs specialized in retail support. For more information about SYMBITS suite of automated monitoring offerings, plus its full spectrum of services for new store set-up and optimizing & managing existing stores, contact Geovani Aday, Chief Technology Officer305.704.3553 or [email protected].

What’s the True Cost of IT Downtime?

For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), when your IT goes down, it’s never good news. We don’t need to tell you that. But, how bad is it? As it turns out, downtime can be downright catastrophic. According to a 2016 survey by Gartner, a technology research and advisory firm, small businesses with 50 million or less in annual revenue put the price tag of an hour-long outage at $8,600. And if there’s data loss in addition to just downtime? Then the costs really add up. Gartner reports that a whopping 43% of SMBs shut their doors right after a major data loss. And 51% go out of business for good within two years.

You needn’t be an Amazon-type business that’s wholly online to feel the impact of data loss either. Just imagine that you didn’t have access to client records or sales contacts… the impact on your customers, and ultimately your reputation, has far reaching consequences. Even an hour of IT downtime can take up to three months for a business to recover, according to Nationwide Insurance. Customers are used to operating in a wireless, one-click world, and have little patience for anything less than immediacy. As a result, you’ll likely lose some customers, who may be hard to lure back, even when you’re fully operational again. And any new leads in the pipeline are lost, too. The odds are truly stacked against businesses that fail to plan for IT downtime and data loss. While it’s a cliché, it’s true: the best offense is a good defense, and that applies to your business continuity plan, too. You can avoid outages in the first place, with a managed IT support subscription that monitors your network for problems. With a remote monitoring connectivity agent in place, you’re protected again viruses and spyware, and know that all security patches are up to date, plus the added peace-of-mind of a help desk and IT onsite support if needed—it’s a much more cost-effective solution that trying to get back up and running with the help of a traditional IT support tech, who has an hourly rate that will rack up quickly.  The other critical piece of the puzzle is reliable backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution to ensure that the data is both backed up and retrievable. While you can’t prevent all IT downtime, with these solutions in place, you can certainly prevent a lot of the headaches.

To find out more about business continuity and other technology solutions for SMBs, including a FREE trial of remote monitoring software, call 1-866-422-0511