The Internet is an essential tool for small businesses. It enables business owners to efficiently manage their companies and market their brands to the public. But no matter how you plan on using the Internet, cybersecurity needs to be a part of your business plan. Many small-business owners think that their businesses are too small to fall prey to a cyberattack, which is exactly why they have increasingly become targets for hackers. A 2012 study showed that 43 percent of small businesses have no Internet safety precautions in place, and that only 3 percent train their employees on safe Internet use.
Small businesses need to realize that they look like, and often are, easy targets for hackers, and take steps to protect themselves from becoming the victim of a cyber attack.
Hackers can steal money and sensitive information from you and your clients if you don’t have cyber security in place. If your business works with high-profile clients, you may be an even more attractive target for a hacker. Cyber attacks on small businesses may not make front-page news, but they still can have a devastating impact on your business’s reputation and bottom line. When it comes to cybersecurity, it is best to prepare for the worst and eliminate the risk of cyber attacks.
A recent report by cyber-security experts showed that in 2012, 50 percent of all cyber attacks were launched on businesses with fewer than 2,500 employees and 31 percent of these attacks were on businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
Even worse news for business owners is that business bank accounts are not as strongly protected by federal laws as personal accounts are. Banks aren’t always required to reimburse businesses when their accounts are hacked, particularly if the bank can show that security on their end met federal standards.
In 2009, a construction company in Maine had to fight tooth-and-nail in court for reimbursement after their account was hacked. The company lost $588,000 because of a cyberattack, and wasn’t reimbursed until after lengthy court proceedings.
In light of these sobering facts and occurrences, small business owners need to be proactive and take steps to protect their online assets. Employees need to be made aware of the danger of cyberthreats and should be trained to protect themselves and their employers. Keeping employees in the know about cybersecurity is very important because a single mistake by a single employee can put your business at risk. Use secure passwords and firewalls, and avoid suspicious online downloads. Back up your data, and protect your computers from theft. Keep your Wi-Fi secure and keep a close eye on your bank accounts for unusual activity. These are all important steps for a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, but an investment in cybersecurity software and services is one of the most important investments you can make for your business’ safety.
Eliminate the risk of a cyberattack on your Kingston, Ottawa and Eastern Ontario small business and call OnServe at (613) 634-8125 for all of your information technology and cybersecurity needs, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.