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How Small Businesses Can Own Cybersecurity in Four Steps

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Thursday, Oct 03, 2013

While cybersecurity in the enterprise is imperative, smaller businesses are also becoming increasingly concerned with cyber threats, including theft of intellectual property. In this technology-dependent age, many small business owners are finding themselves researching the latest vulnerabilities and security systems to thwart cyberattacks.

To help shed some light on common IT concerns, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) recently released their 2013 Small Business Technology Survey. In this survey, 845 small business owners responded to a series of questions pertaining to the utilization of technology in the workplace.

Among the abundance of useful data included in the report, I found these statistics to be most interesting:

  • 24 percent of small businesses generate between $1-5M in gross annual revenue. This information may help clarify why criminals are targeting small businesses.
  • 94 percent of small firms say they are very or somewhat concerned about cybersecurity. This staggering figure confirms the growing concern small businesses have for securing their sensitive data.
  • The average cost associated with the cyber-attack, among those targeted, was $8,699.48. While this may seem miniscule to a large corporation, small businesses can be heavily impacted by such a loss.
  • 84 percent utilize a laptop for business-related purposes. According to the survey, this number was at 67 percent three years ago. More small businesses are turning to mobile devices to increase productivity, a trend I expect to propagate in the coming years.
  • 40 percent manage their own technical support issues. Small businesses have experienced a certain amount of struggles over the past few years. As a result, many have made it a point to become familiar with IT products, services and procedures to decrease and/or eliminate the IT support spend.

The figures above clearly indicate that cybersecurity concerns are reaching critical mass among small business owners. To help them improve upon their security posture, I have prepared the following four steps:

  1. Educate your workforce on current cybercrime techniques and how they can avoid becoming a victim of an attack.
  2. Enable best practices for cybersecurity that align with your organization's budget and goals.
  3. Exercise caution when viewing suspicious emails and browsing the web on Wi-Fi networks other than your own secured network.
  4. Develop a security and privacy policy - and enforce it!

Compiling and analyzing this information is crucial in illustrating the cybersecurity challenges small businesses face today. IT policymakers need to be aware of how their decisions affect not only large corporations, but the small business sector as well.

Has your small business recently fallen prey to a cyberattack? If so, did you experience a substantial financial loss as a result? Please feel free to share your story below. 

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