A new survey reveals that small businesses are especially vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The survey found that 77 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from attack, 73 percent believe that a reliable and trusted Internet presence is critical for their success, and 77 percent acknowledged that cybersecurity is important for their brand image, reports Resources for Entrepreneurs.
Yet only 17 percent of these same business owners had a formal cybersecurity plan. So despite "overwhelming awareness" about cyber threats, the vast majority of small businesses failed to take any formal steps to protect themselves or their customers.
Most businesses today need an Internet presence. This can include selling merchandise online and collecting customer information. As a result, small businesses are especially prime targets for cyber criminals.
A criminal needs to be pretty advanced to hack into larger companies like Amazon's cache of confidential data. On the other hand, many small business owners may simply keep confidential customer information on their unprotected home computers. As a result, small business owners may be exposing their customers' credit card information, Social Security numbers, and passwords to potential criminals.
The cybersecurity survey was conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec. A Symantec spokesperson indicated that about 40 percent of the cyberattacks the company has dealt with involved small companies, reports Resources for Entrepreneurs.
Small business owners oftentimes embrace new technology when it comes to selling their goods. But ironically, small business owners have oftentimes been slow to embrace cybersecurity plans to protect their customers.
Some options small business owners may want to consider to prevent cyberattacks include keeping software current and conducting regular anti-virus scans. Business owners may also want to ramp up their computer security by turning off automatic downloads and installing a web application firewall.
Another option is to move the business' infrastructure to the cloud. Doing so can give you access to network resources that are sophisticated enough to fight off attacks that might otherwise take you offline.
Still, the best way to prevent cyberattacks is to be vigilant about your vulnerabilities and to make sure your staff is well-trained.