Just how seriously does your business take data security? If the decision-makers in your company think that data security is only for big business and large corporations, it is probably time for a major rethink. The importance of cyber security, in general, is becoming more and more apparent in the small business environment.
A 2018 study conducted by Keeper Security, Inc. revealed that 67% of America's small businesses have experienced at least one cyber attack. Some 58% said the attack had occurred within the last 12 months. Sadly, an astonishing 47% said that they actually had no idea about how to protect their businesses.
A Costly Mistake
Failing to maintain a proactive cyber security strategy is a costly mistake. A security breach risks exposing customer data, harms a company's reputation, and creates a huge financial burden. According to 2019 research from Hiscox, the average price tag for recovering from a cyber security breach is an astonishing $200,000.
That amount of money might be a drop in the bucket for a multinational corporation with a more than abundant cash flow, but many small businesses just cannot afford that sort of recovery bill. It very often sadly comes down to either bankruptcy or closing entirely.
No Slow Down Insight
Underscoring the alarming statistics is the reality that cyber-attacks are not slowing down. If anything, emboldened hackers are proving themselves even more aggressive with every passing day. According to Entrepreneur contributor Tom Popomaronis, the number of companies spending at least $50,000 to recover from a security breach is up 41% in 2020.
It is clear that cyber threats are not going to go away. Thus, having no idea how to protect your business is cause for alarm. It is time for small businesses to not only learn how to combat cyber-crime, but to also implement the necessary strategies to protect sensitive data.
FCC Cyber Security Tips
The best way for small businesses to address the cyber security issue is to consult with security professionals. In the meantime, the FCC offers the 10 following tips:
- Employee Training – Employees should be trained in basic security practices and policies, including the value of strong passwords.
- Protect Networks – Company computers and networks should be protected with the latest security software. Operating systems should be kept up to date.
- Firewall Protection – Company computers and networks should be protected by a firewall, whether it be a software or hardware version.
- Secure Mobile Devices – Mobile devices should be protected as much as possible with software and hardware tools. Policies for mobile device use will further dictate security protocols.
- Backing Up Information – Companies can avoid being held hostage to locked computers and networks by regularly backing up information. Backups should be stored off-site or in the cloud.
- Control Physical Access – Physical access to business computers and networks should be controlled through permissions. Data access should only be given on an as-needed basis.
- Secure Wi-Fi Networks – All wi-fi networks should be secured, encrypted, and hidden.
- Protect Payment Cards – Business owners should work with financial institutions to ensure that payment cards are protected with validation tools and anti-fraud measures.
- Software Installations – Authority to install new software should be limited to only those who have the knowledge and skill to ensure that it can be done safely.
- Network Authentication – Companies should consider using additional security measures like two-factor authentication for network access. Unique passwords should be changed every few months.
Cyber security should be a priority for small business. The data does not lie. Small businesses are being targeted by cyber criminals who know just how vulnerable they are.