Small businesses missing the boat on cybersecurity

Small businesses are drastically underprepared to deal with the latest cyber security threats and are not taking sufficient vulnerability management steps to protect themselves, a new study has found.

Of the 1,015 US-based businesses with less than 250 employees surveyed by JZ Analytics under commission by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec, 83 per cent said that they did not have a written cyber security plan in place.

This is despite the fact that 73 per cent of respondents agreed that having an Internet service that was safe and trustable was an essential part of achieving business success.

Just eight per cent of respondents said that they had hired an outside IT consultant to take responsibility for their cybersecurity, while only 29 per cent said that they had provided education to employees as to help ensure online security.

The key to this disconnection may be a misunderstanding as to the real threat level of cybercrime, as 77 per cent of respondents said that they thought their company was safe from the risk of hackers, malware, cyber-security breaches and other such threats.

Symantec vice president of Americas Marketing for SMBs Brian Burch believes that these statistics are given the potential impact a cyberattack can have on a small business.

said Mr Burch in a statement issued October 15.

And for the small, poorly protected companies that suffer an attack, it’s often fatal to their business.’

The study highlights the fact that cybersecurity should be a priority to businesses of all size and scope, and is a further reminder of the value of security audit and penetration testing evaluations when it comes to protecting an organisation from digital threats.

As part of the study, the NCSA has given a brief overview of the key steps any small business can take towards achieving a greater level of cybersecurity.

These include knowing what information is most vulnerable and needs to be protected, creating a disaster preparedness plan, ensuring confidential information is adequately encrypted and utilising a reliable and comprehensive security solution.

NCSA executive director Michael Kaiser has urged small businesses to realize the true danger of cybercrime and to understand that taking the necessary precautions to limit the impact of this threat is the only way to truly stay safe.

said Mr Kaiser.

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