PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Cyber Security and Your Small Business

By at 6 October, 2015, 9:35 pm

A closed lock on a keyboard

By Karen Kerrigan-

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. For small businesses, once networks are hacked or sensitive data compromised, survival becomes difficult. A breach could mean the end of the business. So, it is critical that small business owners not only fully understand cyber-security threats and solutions, but act to protect their enterprises as well.

According to a study by First Data, the average cost of a data breach for a small business is $36,000. Ninety percent of breaches impact small businesses, and 31% of customers terminate their relationship with a business following the occurrence of a breach. In addition, credit card companies may suspend or end their relationship with a business, which means the business will be forced to survive in cash-only mode. Indeed, the stakes are high.

As I noted in a recent media statement announcing SBE Council’s participation in National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe their businesses are immune from hacks and intrusions because they are ‘too small’ a target. But the bad guys don’t discriminate against big and small, and they often go where they’re least expected. 

The news is filled with stories of big companies and government agencies getting hacked, but as noted above, breaches disproportionately impact small firms. The good news is that more small businesses are taking precautions. According to an August 2015 survey by SurePayroll, 60% of small businesses have taken extra precautions to protect their data, which is up from 56% last year.

It is critical that small business owners and managers educate their employees and implement practices to protect their networks and data. Here are some resources to help entrepreneurs and small businesses stay more secure in a dangerous cyber world: 

Business News Daily’s “Cyber Security: Small Business Guide.” Explains the types of attacks, how small businesses get swept up in broader cyber attacks, small business security mistakes, security solutions, cyber insurance, and best practices for your business.

Department of Homeland Security’s “Small Business Resources.” Tool kits, checklists, best practices and more.

“Cyber Security Tips for Small Business Operators,” Multi-Unit Franchising: Password management, zero-knowledge architecture, two-factor authentication, anti-fraud services, and data protection strategy.

“10 Cybersecurity Tips for Startups from a Top VC,” CRN. Protecting and segmenting the “crown jewels” and more.

SBE Council “Oldie but Goodie” Resource: “Online Offense – Secure Your Small Business.” Practical tips on passwords, employee education and more.

“Top 5 Cyber Security Awareness Tips,” InfoSec Institute.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner you’ve worked too hard and too long to let the bad guys take you out in one day. Be smart, and take the necessary steps to protect your networks, data and business.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.  

 

 

 

 

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