Small Business Week celebrates the critical role that entrepreneurs and small businesses play in driving the U.S. economy through innovation and job creation. More than half of all Americans own or are employed by a small business, and they have accounted for 61.8 percent of new jobs created between 1993 and 2016. Meanwhile, less pleasant statistics show that cyber-crime losses are expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021 and 43 percent of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses.
Cyber-readiness is critical to every small business and its bottom line; however, three out of every four small businesses report that they have no policy in place to control access to their data systems, while one in three have no cyber-security strategy in place whatsoever.
According to the National Small Business Association, there are two reasons that may largely explain why small businesses are not cyber-ready. The first is due to a misconception by small business operators that the data they collect and store is not an attractive target to cyber-criminals. This is not the case. Many cyber-attacks aimed at small businesses compromise names, addresses, email addresses, and credit card information of customers or employees, which are valuable to cyber-criminals. The second is that small businesses have fewer employees and resources to address cyber-security concerns.
However, small businesses operators simply can’t afford to leave cyber-readiness on the back burner because breaches are costly, and potentially devastating, to a small business. The most common type of cyber-attacks leveraged against small businesses cause service disruptions or falsely send information in the business’ name. Either scenario can harm the business’ finances and reputation, especially considering that one in four small businesses that have suffered a cyber-attack report that it took more than three days to resolve it. Further, 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach.
The Cyber Readiness Institute has created a quiz to help small and medium-sized businesses learn if they are prepared for a cyber-attack. The quiz can help assess whether you and your employees are able to identify major cyber threats, recognize phishing emails, and respond quickly in case of an attack. Find out your Cyber Readiness Score here.
The Cyber Readiness Institute has also developed and launched a free program to help small and medium-sized businesses address four key issues and put systems in place to improve cyber readiness. Learn more about program here.