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Bankruptcy Prevention & Data Loss & Identity Theft Protection Checklist

  • My router is running WPA/WPA2 encryption. (If not it can be hacked into in about 4.5 minutes. Google search “hacking WEP Youtube”, this is so easy a 10 year old could do it, try it yourself. Remember, 95% of computer break-ins go unreported, most of the time because the business is unaware they were even attacked. For proof of concept I set up a new unsecured server. It only took 17 hours before I had my first break in attempt on it. We have found that 80% of businesses are vulnerable to router attacks which bypass their firewall, security measures, and give hackers full access to their sensitive business data.)
  • ALL of my computers are patched and updated on a bi-monthly basis. (The first Tuesday of each month Microsoft releases security patches, in the hacker community this is known as Terrorist Tuesday since they take these patches, reverse engineer them, and write exploits to hack ALL the systems that have not been patched yet. Microsoft also releases “0 day patches” to major security vulnerabilities, which is why we recommend patching twice a month. Note: Automatic updates can hang and give you a false sense of security, this occurs when Microsoft updates their patching platform since you manually have to go in and allow the active x control so that it continues to patch your system)


  • ALL of my critical data is being backed up offsite in a secure and redundant facility. Due to fires, earthquakes, theft, etc., it is mandatory that you keep your data backed up offsite in a secure data center. The risk of not doing so is just too high. “93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately.” (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)


  • My virus definitions are updated every week. (Virus protection software is only as good as the virus definition database that it uses. Viruses are released on a daily basis so if you are not updating your definitions, you are leaving yourself wide open to all of the new virus threats coming in daily. Take note: Only 1% of data loss occurs due to viruses, you are 16 times more likely to lose data to a hacker than to a virus.
  • ALL of my staff’s laptops and or desktops have their hard drives encrypted. (The number one cause of data loss is stolen laptops, 17% of all data loss is due to stolen laptops since people generally have all of their passwords to your business systems saved on their laptops or hidden away in the laptops memory. Also another 6% of data loss happens from stolen desktops. What would you do if someone broke in and stole all of your computers and servers? That is why we strongly suggest you encrypt them to prevent data loss and identity theft.)
  • I run WOT on my internet browser to prevent 11% of data loss. 11% of all data loss happens over the web by visiting common websites like Facebook, Youtube, online news sites etc, or by following links to unknown malicious sites that often have innocent looking information like recipes or other information of interest. It has become incredibly easy for hackers to inject malicious code into things like images, PDFs, web scripts, etc and put them onto popular sites to steal your identity and information. Some of these injections cause your computer to directly connect back to the hacker’s computer giving them full access to all of your files. If your computer, like most peoples, contains personal data, you are a prime candidate for identity theft, WOT won’t prevent all of this but it will alert you to many sites that steal information or are deemed unsafe. This is why patching windows with updates is so crucial.
  • I shred all important information before disposal. 8% of data loss and identity theft is due to poor document disposal. Yes folks, dumpster diving is real, people do it, and they sell your data. Be smart and shred your documents, don’t become a victim.
  • I filter my email to prevent viruses and data loss. 3% of data loss happens via email. Protect yourself.
  • I replace my hard drives every 3-5 years, keep them locked, and wipe them before throwing them away. Hard drives have moving parts and wear out every 3-5 years, which is why they go out of warranty then. Also 2% of data loss happens via lost hard drives and another 2% happens to stolen hard drives. So keep them locked and your data safe. Also dispose of hard drives properly don’t end up like this company. “Hard drive from leased copier exposes 409,262 employee’s personal details including medical, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.” – Affinity Health Plan

A few additional facts of interest, the following statistics were gathered from various sources:


  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 1998, that translates to approximately 4.6 million data loss episodes. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $11.8 billion in 1998. (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70% fail within five years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
  • 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.
  • 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77% have found tape back-up failures.
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.
  • 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)
  • American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 1999. (Research by Computer Economics)
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. (Strategic Research Institute)
  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States. (Mozy Online Backup)
  • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500 and success is not guaranteed.

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