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Tech Security: Is Your Event Business Protected?

Many business owners believe their company's size reduces their risk of cyber-attacks. However, recent statistics reveal 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, and 60% of victims go out of business within six months. In addition, an alarming 76% of small business owners are unprepared for cyber threats. 

As event professionals, being aware of cyber-attacks, malware threats, and elaborate scams is our greatest asset. Living in the digital age with laptops and smartphones makes our information more vulnerable to cyber threats. For this reason alone, it's essential to be proactive by investing in systems that intercept hackers and protect your business records.   

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How are you safeguarding your event business? If the answer is free anti-malware protection (or nothing at all), it's time to seriously consider the ramifications of a cyber-attack and plans for cybersecurity. 

Here are six questions to determine if cybersecurity is a necessary precaution in your event business. 

Do you have a risk management plan? 

A risk management plan helps you evaluate your assets and business risks. Begin by conducting a meeting to review your tangible and intangible assets. Here, you can determine each asset's value on a scale of low, medium, and high. From there, consider worst case scenarios. Select a few threats and ask the following:

  • What's the likelihood of this threat occurring?
  • How will I detect this threat should it materialize? 
  • What should I do if a cyber threat develops?
  • How much will this threat financially impact my business?
  • How can I alleviate the impact of an attack? 

If you don't have a risk management plan, it's time to implement one, so you can best prepare yourself for the unexpected.  

Do you have a staffing continuity plan?  

In the event of changes within your team, clarify your onboarding and offboarding process to reduce gaps in your workflow. First, start by determining your business-essential team members, such as yourself. Then, check in with your employees about their recommended successors if they were to explore other opportunities. You can preface these questions by saying it's a standard business practice, so they feel secure with their role. 

In addition, you can have them create SOPs and list their responsibilities for recruits to get up to date. Ultimately, you want transparent processes to ensure your operations run seamlessly. It also provides peace of mind, knowing you have a system in place for when changes occur.  

Are you aware of phishing scams? 

Emails are a popular gateway for phishing scams. Phishing involves disguising oneself as a reputable source to reel victims into taking action. For instance, some messages may encourage you to update your password due to a data breach. However, such emails are sometimes from cybercriminals waiting to access your login information. Therefore, the safest option is to remain alert.

Here are some ways to decipher a phishing scam:

  • Pay attention to the email address. 
  • Look out for grammatical errors.
  • Check for inconsistent branding. 
  • Review the signature. 
  • Trust your gut. Urgent emails that come across as desperate and time-sensitive are likely illegitimate. 

If you see any red flags, don't interact with the email. Instead, delete it and connect with the purported sender to discuss the matter. 

Do you have basic cybersecurity training? 

System failure and human error account for over half of security breaches. With that in mind, it’s wise to implement quarterly security training for your team. It's common for firms to offer security training and teach information that will protect your event business in the long haul.

Look for a technological specialist who is educated on the latest threats. They will pinpoint red flags, ensure your team is alert and ready to report unusual behavior, and teach the basics of security threats. 

Do you have a password policy? 

Whether you're a solopreneur or manage a team, a password policy is necessary for protecting your information from hackers. Unfortunately, many websites are hacked daily, with 63% of confirmed breaches coming from default, stolen, or weak passwords. Although it's tempting to use common information, like dates or abbreviations of your name, consider applying a random password generator for each of your business accounts and avoid repeating passwords. 

You can also implement security features, such as multi-factor authentication, for additional security. While an extra text or email step may seem burdensome, it's an essential measure for securing private business information.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, it's time to take your event business security seriously. With the advancement of technology, being alert and proactive will ensure your assets and clients remain safe. Start securing your information today, so you can rest easy knowing you're safeguarding your clients and bottom line.  


Elizabeth Sheils

Co-founder, Rock, Paper, Coin

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.