On the heels of yet another and, perhaps, the largest data breach, a new survey found small businesses are having difficulty calculating the cost versus risk of strengthening protection of their vital information.
The new study by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, “The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America,
concludes that while most small businesses are aware of specific threats, the majority are at odds about how to prevent becoming a victim.
While many businesses are improving their data protection, more emphasis is needed in the area of employee training. The online survey included 1,100 businesses in North America, The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America finds 81% of small businesses use basic data protection tools such as antivirus software, and 75% protect their systems with firewalls.
The downside is that the report reveals less than half of respondents concentrate on employee education. Unfortunately, cyberattacks often target employees as the means to gain access into an organization’s network.
If prevention of a cyberattack isn’t reason enough to expand protection and education, maybe statistics are: Half of the study’s respondents said they could not remain profitable for more than one month if essential data was stolen.
Every business needs to train employees about data security protocols, because firewall and antivirus protection are not sufficient if your employees don’t know how to detect and steer clear of suspicious online sites and phishing. Check with your information technology provider to see if it is able to help with training. Consider testing employees by conducting pseudo phishing exercises.
Business owners can learn more through “5 Steps to Better Business Security” at www.bbb.org/cybersecurity.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and abarnett@greatermd.bbb.org.