October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is sponsored by the National Cyber Security Division within the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created to promote protection by all computer users. National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016 will highlight the overall message of STOP, make sure security measures are in place; THINK, about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online; CONNECT, and enjoy the Internet.
Cyber security is an important measure for any individual computer user and business, whether large or small, to take. However, many small businesses erroneously believe they are not as at-risk for cyber-attack, a deliberate exploitation of computer systems, as their larger brethren, when in fact the opposite is true.
According to a report by Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute, which surveyed 600 IT leaders at small- and medium-sized businesses, 50 percent of small businesses have been breached in the past year. The report further states that the most prevalent attacks against small businesses are web-based and phishing/social engineering, 59 percent of small businesses have no visibility into employee password practices and hygiene and 65 percent have a password policy of which they do not strictly enforce. The conclusion: No business, be it small or large, is immune to cyber-attack.
So why do hackers target small businesses? Simply put, it’s because many small businesses have less security and concern compared to larger businesses. In fact, more than 80 percent of small business owners believe they are not a target for cyber-attack, as they “don’t have anything worth stealing,” which, again, is false. Most small businesses have digital assets, credit card information and other sensitive data that hackers prey on, and according to Small Business Committee, 71 percent of cyber-attacks occur at businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
Cyber security is a shared responsibility, as no individual, business or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Always keep in mind that everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace.
For more information on how to strengthen cyber security, such as securing computers and networks, educating employees, backing up critical data, safeguarding mobile devices and limiting access to information, read the NALA’s blog at http://www.thenala.com/blog/article/how-small-businesses-can-strengthen-cyber-security. To participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month, please visit https://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved.
Blog by Dale Myers. the NALA's Head Writer.