Do I Need To Worry About Cyber Security For My Small Business?

February 5, 2016

Do I Need To Worry About Cyber Security For My Small Business?

From high-profile retailers like CVS and Home Depot to local businesses, organizations are facing the increasing challenge of losing customer data. In some organizations, cybercriminals even take over company systems and demand ransom money to unlock them. Protection against cyber-attacks is no longer just an issue for major corporations, but small businesses are at risk of being the newest targets for hackers. However, the threat of an attack may not be on their radar. Busy growing their business, owners often lack the technical expertise and necessary funds to fully protect their systems and data. According to a recent survey, 31 percent of small businesses are not taking active measures to protect from security threats.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the comprehensive effort to protect computers, programs, networks and data from an attack, damage or unauthorized access through technologies, processes, and best practices. Most small business owners don’t think they’re in danger. As a result, it’s fair to say they are indeed ill-prepared to safeguard against an attack. Cybersecurity is clearly a concern that the entire business community shares, but it represents an especially dangerous threat to smaller businesses.

Why is Cybersecurity So Important?

Understanding the detrimental effects of a security breach on the business, large companies are allocating a sizable portion of their IT budget to protect and secure data and systems, making smaller businesses with minimal defense mechanisms an easier target. The consequences of cybercrime fall into two broad categories: breaches in data security and sabotage. Sabotage can take the form of denial of service attacks, which flood web services with bogus messages, as well as more conventional efforts to disable systems and infrastructure. Whether it is a breach or sabotage the effects of such attacks could result in loss of time and productivity, which cost money, and the worst case is the loss of client trust. According to a recent survey of 1,450 small business owners, about 85% don’t feel that they are at risk of experiencing a data breach. Many of these businesses don’t use some of the most common types of protection tools such as anti-virus/anti-malware software, spam filtering, and firewalls.

What Can I Do To Protect My Business?

The first step toward change is awareness. Becoming aware of the real dangers of cyber- threats and learning the basics of Cybersecurity is the best way to get started with overcoming the risks that could cost you time and money.

Practical steps to follow:

Institute best practices such as for example:

  • Install anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-phishing software
  • Performing regular software updates for all programs
  • Undertaking recurring back-ups and keeping them off-site
  • Using strong passwords
  • Training! Employees can view a self-paced 30-minute video provided by the U. S. Small Business Administration containing an introduction to securing information in a small business
  • Hire a Managed Services Provider to assess your threats ( many offer predictable monthly pricing )