By Leslie Youngblood

A topic that many businesses don’t like to think about, but that is really very serious, and so vital, is online safety at work.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an event started by the National Cyber Security Division within the Department of Homeland Security and the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance. The month is meant to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and features different topics or themes to discuss each week.

This week, October 15 - 20 is all about shedding light on how small and medium-sized businesses can protect themselves, their employees, and their customers against the most prevalent threats.

An online security breach can cost a small business anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 dollars to recover from.

And even scarier, anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of small businesses are targeted by hackers every day.

Even with these alarming facts, cybersecurity is still tricky. It’s an ambiguous topic that most people don’t really understand and that many think they don’t ever have to worry about.

Closeup of young male theift in sweatshirt with hood transfering money from bills of stolen creding cardsLet me just ask you to do this real fast though: Go into your email’s spam folder. I can practically guarantee you that there is some shady spam message in there. I went and checked mine while writing this article and saw that I had just received an email with lots of technical info from an Assistance Inspection Director with the Harrisburg Airport in Pennsylvania. Apparently, there’s a box with lots of money waiting for me, I just have to provide some key details. Of course!

Now I know it’s fake, you know it’s fake, most everyone knows this email is a bad scam/fake. Yet maybe one day, an employee of yours receives something less obvious than this and doesn’t realize it’s a scam. And then - POOF- your files and operating system are now being held for ransom. Or another horrific outcome: Your customer/client/patient data gets breached.

That is a terrifying and costly situation. It’s monetarily costly of course, but equally as bad is the loss of trust with your customers, and the fear of their information now being in the wrong hands.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay I get it! It freaks me out! I know it’s important.” But maybe while you want to be a smart business owner you also feel like you don’t know where to go to find the right service or assistance and that it just lingers on your to-do list. Or, perhaps you also believe that an IT service is out of your budget.

Well, I’m going to make it super simple for you.

Group of students in computers roomThe next step is to take action to obtain managed IT services help from an affordable and trusted specialized company.

Office Depot-OfficeMax is an excellent option. Yes, they do way more than just providing furniture and pens. Their managed IT services are on point, with comprehensive 24/7/365 support.

Office Depot-OfficeMax Managed IT Services will also waive the set-up fee for all Excelerate America members.

Another option is to ask for a reference on a local service or company. You can do this simply by chatting with your fellow business owners and professional connections to see who they use and trust. That’s much better than blind Googling and it will put your mind more at ease with this tricky topic.

When you get the right help in place, you’ll be able to relax in knowing all your info is secure. You’ll also never have to scrounge around for someone to fix your laptop or computer when you start having issues. Managed IT Services takes care of that for you too.

So tell me- what steps have you taken to super-shield your business from cyber threats? Or, have you ever gone through a ransomware ordeal?


Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for entrepreneurs. Tell Leslie about your experience with managed IT services or bad spam by emailing her at

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