According to the 2009 National Small Business Cybersecurity Study, you are most likely not adequately prepared for internet security. The study was co-sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec and included responses from over 1,500 small business owners from around the United States.
The statistics show that most small businesses do consider internet information security a priority, even though 65 percent of respondents said that internet and internet communication was critical to their success. Here is a sample of the valuable information handled and stored via the internet:
- Customer data 65%
- Financial records 43%
- Credit Card info 33%
- Intellectual property 20%
Yet, surprisingly few small business owners do anything about cyber security. Only 28 percent of American small businesses have any type of internet security policy in place. Only 35 percent of small businesses even provide training to their employees about internet security and safety. And an astounding 86 percent of small businesses do not have an employee dedicated and focused on Information Technology security.
These numbers are startling – especially considering that there are over 20 million small businesses operating in the United States. A breach in internet security can lead to extreme losses of vital customer and company data.
How can you improve your internet security policies? Here’s a start:
Check for viruses and malware at least once a week. 9 out of 10 small business owners thought they were safe from viruses, but only 53 percent checked their computers on a weekly basis. Check that your spyware and anti-virus software is updated at least once a week.
Back up files. This cannot be stressed enough. Always back up your important data. Good business practice means backing up your critical data on a daily basis.
Use strong passwords. Internet hackers are surprisingly resourceful. Make sure that all your passwords are changed frequently, and use authentication technology. Passwords should be at least eight characters and include both letters and numbers or symbols.
Don’t let your business become a security risk for your customers or your important business data. Make sure you employ strong cyber security policies that ensure the integrity of your computer data and reduce your risk of becoming a cyber target.