SMB Cyber Security Alliance Helps Small Businesses Address Cyber Security Risk and Education

Updated: January 23, 2011

What are some consequences of the lack of basic cyber security controls?

  • Loss or stolen customer data
  • Loss of intellectual property
  • Decreased productivity
  • Legal liability
  • Regulatory sanctions and fines
  • Computer systems downtime
  • Loss of reputation and customer confidence
  • Loss of revenue
  • Banking Fraud


Could this happen to you?

It is very important to understand that neither size nor industry guarantees protection from an attack. The use of computer systems and the Internet makes you vulnerable to attacks and other threats.

A 2010 survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Guardian Analytics of over 500 SMBs surfaced these alarming statistics:

  • 55% experienced a fraud attack in the last year
  • 58% of the incidents involved online banking
  • Over 50% experienced multiple incidents
  • 87% failed to fully recover lost funds


You are not a big, well known business. Why would anyone attack you?

While it might be the case that well trained hackers are not very interested in your small company, most online attacks aren't carried out by expert hackers. Attacks are perpetrated by low-skilled, common criminals with access to pre-packaged hacking tools, thereby casting a wide net in hopes of finding an unprotected computer system or network. These tools are easy to use and readily available on the Internet, often times free of charge. The anonymity of a cyber attack makes it even more attractive to criminals. Many attackers use safe havens in foreign countries which do not have strong cyber crime laws.

Malicious software like viruses, worms, trojan horses, spam, bots are all vectors of cyber attacks that are indiscriminately spreading across the Internet. These attacks don't only target your small business computer systems but also seek to use your unprotected systems to launch attack on others.


Hasn't IT guy(s) already dealt with this issue?

Although cyber security includes traditional "IT"related issues, it primarily focuses on protecting your valuable information from all threats including physical attacks, data corruption, equipment failure, social engineering, and bad security choices due to insufficient security awareness education. Effective cyber security management requires specific training related to threats, vulnerabilities, and risks affecting computer systems, business operational processes, and most importantly you and your employees. One's security problems cannot be addressed solely by off the shelf products. Security must be addressed in the boardroom before it is addressed in the computer room.


What are the benefits and cost of cyber security?

Besides avoiding some of the devastating consequences mentioned earlier, good security is simply good business. It does far more than increase customer confidence and protects the integrity of your businesses brand. A secure business increases customer confidence, loyalty and adds to the businesses bottom line.

Responsible businesses understand that risk management mandates that all threats, including cyber threats, be assessed and managed to protect the business, employees and customers.

The potential cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action. Analyzing your businesses risks allows you to weigh the costs and benefits and make informed decisions.

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