The Internet allows businesses of all sizes and from any location to reach new and larger markets and provides opportunities to work more efficiently by using computer-based tools. Whether a company is thinking of adopting cloud computing or just using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should be a part of the plan. Theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft. Every business that uses the Internet is responsible for creating a culture of security that will enhance business and consumer confidence. In October 2012, the FCC re-launched the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans.
Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.
The Office of Communications Business Opportunities provides Internet links to information about government agencies and private organizations that have educational resources and tools related to cybersecurity. The descriptions and links below are for informational purposes only. The FCC does not endorse any non-FCC product or service and is not responsible for the content of non-FCC websites, including their accuracy, completeness, or timeliness.
A second but related issue is that when a hacker obtains sensitive information about the organization it may find its reputation ruined. Few small organizations can survive the damage to its reputation that such lost data might cause. The damage to reputation and goodwill might be more crippling than the actual data loss itself. Loss of customer data may result in legal or regulatory action against the organization. A third party might file a suit against an organization as they have themselves incurred a loss. Organizations might also be subject to significant penalties and/or legal action arising from breaches of the privacy laws in many jurisdictions.
If your resource is publicly available on the Internet, accurate and comprehensive for a given type of cybersecurity risk or risk-reducing measure, and freely available for others to use, it meets the basic criteria for potential inclusion in the Small Business Cybersecurity Corner website. That includes resources from government agencies and nonprofit organizations. If your resource qualifies and you would like it considered for listing, send a description of your resource to smallbizsecurity [at] nist.gov.
Cybercriminals know the fact that small-scale business has direct or indirect business relationships with larger organizations. So, the cybercriminals focus on small businesses as a gateway into larger organizations, as the cybersecurity at small firms is typically less robust than that of large firms.
Malware attacks including trojans and viruses are the second biggest cybersecurity threat faced by small-scale businesses. The attack includes gaining access to corporative networks, stealing confidential data, or destroying important information on computers.
For these reasons, small businesses need to be aware of the threats and how to stop them. This article will cover the top 5 security threats facing businesses, and how organizations can protect themselves against them.
Another big threat facing small businesses is employeesusing weak or easily guessed passwords. Many small businesses use multiplecloud based services, that require different accounts. These services often cancontain sensitive data and financial information. Using easily guessedpasswords, or using the same passwords for multiple accounts, can cause this datato become compromised.
The importance of information security in organizations cannot be overstated. It is critical that companies take the needed steps to protect their priority information from data breaches, unauthorized access, and other disruptive data security threats to business and consumer data.
Company core business integrity and client protections are critical, and the value and importance of information security in organizations make this a priority. All organizations need protection against cyber attacks and security threats, and investing in those protections is important. Data breaches are time-consuming, expensive, and bad for business. With strong infosec, a company reduces their risk of internal and external attacks on information technology systems. They also protect sensitive data, protect systems from cyber attacks, ensure business continuity, and provide all stakeholders peace of mind by keeping confidential information safe from security threats.
Emphasizing the importance of information security in organizations and acting on it are key to countering the main threats to data security. The top six concerns in infosec are social engineering, third party exposure, patch management, ransomware, malware, and overall data vulnerabilities.
Companies must be confident that any third party vendors are handling information securely and sensitively. If there are data breaches with a vendor, the main company that owns the consumer relationship is still considered responsible. The importance of information security in organizations must be held at the same high priority level for vendors as it is within your own company.
These are risks that involve the loss of critical and often confidential data such as customer information and trade secrets. Small and midmarket organizations that handle outsourced data-related work of large organizations are particularly vulnerable to data breaches.
Many organizations lack proper understanding of the cybersecurity risks they face, often relying on self-research for threat information. Given how sophisticated many modern-day threats are, it is becoming difficult for a business to assess a potential attack without prior knowledge and the ability to correlate seemingly disparate indicators. Many threat actors also take advantage of zero-day attacks, making it even more difficult to detect and respond to these threats. Furthermore, even if the targeted companies use a wide range of security technologies, they might not possess sufficient knowledge to maximize these products. That unfamiliarity could allow threats to slip by or remain unnoticed.
One of the main challenges businesses face is the shortage of qualified personnel to handle their security requirements. According to Gartner, the number of unfilled cybersecurity roles is expected to rise to 1.5 million by 2020. This means that smaller companies that have fewer resources for hiring skilled professionals also have to compete with larger organizations for a small pool of workers.
The lack of skilled employees is further exacerbated by the sheer amount of information organizations have to deal with on a daily basis. A significant number of organizations within the midmarket and enterprise range have IT or security teams that often spend excessive time investigating incident alerts, many of which can turn out to be false alarms. It might pose less of a problem to larger companies that have a fully equipped IT department or a dedicated security team that can handle the different parts of the IT infrastructure. For businesses with small IT teams that do everything, from hardware installation to software updates to network maintenance, the prospect of having to sift through mountains of data to find that one real red alert from a myriad of grey ones might seem incredibly daunting.
A small business may notice user abuse or abnormal database activities as hackers try to gain access to personal or cardholder information, whereas a financial institution may be more prone to account abuse, unauthorized port access, and malware attacks designed to steal social security and financial data.
These findings are from major corporations spending millions on security infrastructure and applications. What does this mean for small institutions with limited budgets and resources? Is it hopeless? My experiences at Evangel University (EU) show otherwise. By creating momentum and remaining consistent in cybersecurity strategic development and execution, smaller organizations can implement and achieve success with effective cybersecurity strategies over time.
We started with the end user in mind. According to a 2016 Microsoft security blog, 60 percent of all breaches originate at endpoints through compromised credentials. Indeed, as Amazon Web Services CISO Stephen Schmidt recently stated, "the biggest threat that most organizations are facing right now is a combination of excessive access for their employees and an increased focus by nation-state actors on access to sensitive information."
The free educational program is intended for managers and staff of small organizations, especially those with limited in-house resources, who need to understand and implement IT security. City, county and state government entities, as well as small business owners and managers, are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required. Contact Rosa Rodarte of SBA at 619/557- 7250 ext. 1126 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
For more information about SBA's programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 800-U-ASK-SBA or visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/ca/sandiego. The SBA, in co-sponsorship with Staples, has introduced an online newsletter SBA Solutions. For a free subscription, go to and select New SBA Solutions Newsletter.
ESG recently completed a research survey of 400 cybersecurity and IT professionals working at small organizations (i.e. 50 to 499 employees) in North America. As you can imagine, these firms tend to have a small staff responsible for cybersecurity and IT, reporting to business management rather than CIOs or CISOs. (Note: I am an employee of ESG.)
The amount of valuable information that resides on multiple data sources has grown exponentially from the early days of computing. The opportunity for organizations of all sizes to have their data compromised grows as the number of devices that store confidential data increases. Cloud storage and the Internet of Things (IoT) have exposed new vulnerabilities. Organizations and businesses must make security plans that take new security threats into consideration, rather than only protecting business computers and mobile devices. 2b1af7f3a8