Cyber security or cybersecurity – depending upon your preference for spelling – is a headline-grabbing attention-getting event… when it happens. And when it happens, we often read about large businesses and monolithic corporations that were attacked. We typically don’t hear about the businesses with less than 500 employees that are being held hostage by ransomware. It’s a small blurb on the media radar at best.
However, it is the small businesses (less than 500 employees) that are often the back door into the large attacks that make the trending news on Twitter. Hackers target these businesses under the belief that a) smaller businesses assume they will never be attacked and are complacent in monitoring intrusions or b) they don’t have any systems in place for monitoring or protection because they don’t invest in the people or the financial resources to protect their businesses.
So, is cyber defense important for your business? To find out, ask yourself the following question, ” On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not disruptive at all and 5 being extremely disruptive, how disruptive would it be to our business if we lost Internet access for 48 hours in a row during the course of our regular business week? If the answer is 1, then you’re good to go. But our guess is that your answer would probably be a ‘5,’ or if you’re like us, a ‘6.’
We know that keeping you in business is important. So we’ve put together this page to share access to cyber resources that you can use immediately. We’ll update this page regularly to add more resources you can access.
If you are interested in an initial conversation about cybersecurity in your business contact Brian.Dennis@ku.edu.
Assess Your Risks
As business owners and managers we make decisions about what credit to extend a customer, what insurance policies to buy, and who to hire. We assess our risks. Because we can see these risks they may feel easier to weigh. But, what about risks we don’t see? Or events we don’t think will happen?
Since cybersecurity risks are more difficult to get our hands around, it may help to approach them as we would preparing for a business emergency.
Contact our Kansas SBDC Cybersecurity for Small Business Director Brian.Dennis@ku.edu to learn about assessment tools that he has used when working with small businesses.
Stay Safe Online. National Cyber Security Alliance. Business resource page.
Just being aware of threats is a good second step. A good first step would be putting monitoring systems in place.
Protect Your Workplace
Believe it or not, physical security has a role in cybersecurity. Think about the last time you walked into another business. Could you have sat down at a computer and started typing? What about the last time you had coffee with a business acquaintance? Could you have access their mobile office via their phone?
Free security check-ups and tools can be found at https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/free-security-check-ups/
Privacy is good for business SBA one sheet guide
Report Cyber attacks
Reporting cyber threats or suspicious behavior can help avert a crime. There are several entities to which you can report activity. Did you know that you can report activity to your local Better Business Bureau?
Report spyware incidents to the Federal Trade Commission‘s OnGuard Online website at www.onguardonline.gov/file-complaint.aspx.
Implement a Plan
Plans may feel cumbersome, but they can be worth their weight in gold. Have a plan.
Cyber Awareness Canvas – one page planning guide
Protect Your Customers
Without your customers your business wouldn’t exist. What do you do to ensure that you keep their information safe?
Small Merchant Guide to Safe Payments pci Security Standards Council July 2016
Small Merchant Questions to Ask Your Vendors.pdf Questions to Ask Your Vendors guide 2016 by pci Security Standards Council
Train Your Employees
Your employees are your front line of defense. And, in reality, they are your customers too. Protect their information and show them how to protect others. Your business will be better for it.