Why It Is Time to Take Cyber Security Seriously?
Do you lock the doors when you leave your business unattended? Is your office or building protected by a security system? Are your outside tools, machines, parts and vehicles surrounded by a fence and locked up at night? Chances are you replied yes to some or all of these questions. You replied yes, because it makes good sense to protect your stuff – your tangible assets.
So, why are you not protecting your other assets?
A lot of small business owners have been late adapters to cyber security. At first, their lateness was not much of a problem. While it did not help them to ignore the subject, it did not hurt them either. Cyber hacking affected only the few, not the many. But, that has changed and owners can no longer afford to close their eyes to the issue. Depending on the study 60% to 70% of small businesses have had a breach or breach attempt in the last year.
It is a given that cyber crime is here to stay and will get worse. Small companies are being attacked in increasing numbers because they have a lot of unprotected, valuable information (i.e. credit card numbers, bank account and routing numbers, employees’ personal data, passwords, social security numbers). They also provide easy access into larger, better protected systems. Many major breaches start down the supply chain in an unsecured system.
Therefore, providing adequate cyber security for customers, vendors and suppliers is now considered to be a standard line item, a normal expense. Owners are expected to know this and act accordingly. Large companies are starting to add minimum levels of cyber security to their contracts and will not work with companies who do not have them. Online buyers are told to only use web sites that have an Extended Validation Certificate (the green padlock).
In addition to protecting others’ information you also want to protect your own. The U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance reports that after a successfully completed cyber attack 60% of small businesses are unable to stay open past 6 months. They cannot reclaim the money stolen from their accounts and have no means to replace it. This situation is so common that there is now Cyber Insurance to protect against this type of loss.
Small companies are easy and lucrative targets for cyber attacks. Hackers have little to lose and a lot to gain by going after them. The days when owners could say, “I didn’t know” has past, and it is time for them to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others. After all, you do not want to be the guy in your supply chain who put everyone else at risk because you were the weakest link.