National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) kicks off its fourth week today with an emphasis on how small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can better protect themselves from cybersecurity threats. http://ncsam.info/1s2dOV3
As larger enterprises strengthen their Internet security, cybercriminals are targeting small- and medium- sized businesses –which often have less resources dedicated to cybersecurity – at an alarming rate. According to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group, 44 percent of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks, costing an average of $8,700 per attack.
Last year, businesses with less than 250 employees accounted for 30 percent of targeted attacks compared to 18 percent in 2011, as reported in Symantec's Internet Security Threat
report. Combining attacks on enterprises with 251-500 employees, the number jumps to 41 percent of all attacks, compared with 36 percent in 2012.
“Every day businesses of all sizes become more dependent on the Internet to serve their customers, grow their business and gain efficiencies,” said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). “They need to focus on cyber risks and making sure they are doing all they can to protect their networks and valuable data, and create a culture of cybersecurity within their organizations.”
In 2013, NCSA and Business Executives for National Security launched RE: Cyber, an initiative dedicated to helping CEOs and corporate boards manage their cyber risks. This year, NCSA will assume a leadership position in driving and expanding the program. From public to private sector, the RE: Cyber website provides a strategic toolkit for SMBs and larger companies that empowers them to create a unique cybersecurity roadmap.
“Because of several recent data breaches, customers are becoming more nervous about handing over their personal information to businesses,” said Katherine Hutt, national spokesperson for Better Business Bureau (BBB). “Small businesses can protect their customers by first protecting themselves with strong tools and procedures to safeguard their online access credentials. Having a data security policy in place will help build the customer trust that is so essential to running a business.”
With the number of serious breaches in the last year, it may seem to some business owners that there is little they can do protect their business. In fact, every business has a responsibility. It can start with these easy steps from NCSA and BBB: