Cyber and Data Breach

High-profile cyber attacks on companies such as Target and Sears have raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber crime. Recent surveys conducted by the Small Business Authority, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab, and the National Cybersecurity Alliance suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.

The statistics of these studies are grim. The vast majority of U.S. small businesses lack a formal internet security policy for employees, and only about half have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof. Nearly half  do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

Don’t Equate Small with Safe

Despite significant cyber security exposures, a majority of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks.

In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Symantec’s study found that 43% of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 250 employees. These attacks can come in surprising ways, such as:

  • A hacker is able to get a worm into your local network, and once they are connected to the computers that control your brewing equipment, they will shut it down and hold it hostage demanding a ransom payment to turn it back on.
  • Credit card skimmers are small devices that are usually unnoticed until it is too late. Customers’ private information, including their credit card numbers, are now in the hands of scammers who will use that information to steal from your clients.
  • A manager’s phone is stolen, on which they accessed business emails containing sensitive customer information, including proprietary information from your vendors and business clients. The businesses sue you for not protecting their intellectual property.