SCORE

Cybersecurity is an often-overlooked aspect of small business. Perhaps that’s because small business owners think their businesses are immune to a hack. Entrepreneurs have heard about countless data breaches, but they think that that can only happen to large companies like Equifax, Yahoo and Target.

As much as we like to think that cyberattacks won’t happen to us, any business in the digital realm is susceptible to a cyberattack. In fact, according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 58 percent of cyberattack victims are small businesses.

More startling than that statistic is that once hit with a data breach, ransomware, or another type of cyberattack, 60 percent of businesses never open their doors again. The costs of recovering from a cyberattack can be astronomical. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrimes will cost the world $6 trillion by 2021 – double the $3 trillion spent in 2015.

Do you still think that cybersecurity is something you can ignore?

Sometimes people postpone cybersecurity implementation because they worry that implementing effective Internet security is onerous or costly. In other cases, business owners may not understand what cybersecurity entails. It many cases, it means adding a layer of protection for transactions and interactions occurring over the Internet and making sure your data is backed up. Think of it like insurance for your computer, payroll system and any other online operating system integral to your business.

As far as cost, malware protection, for instance, is far less expensive than the cost of recovering countless corrupted files or recouping lost trust after the dissemination of sensitive information such as customers’ credit card numbers.

My career background for nearly 40 years has been as a software engineer, architect and Chief Technology Officer. Thankfully though, business owners do not need to be software developers to protect their online presence from hackers.

My approach to Internet security is a risk versus benefit balance. You must run your business. Doing so means relying on systems and connecting to the Internet. Taking a “People, Process, Technology” approach can combat cyber security threats. For example, many attacks start when employees open innocent-looking emails. Training employees on what to look for can avert disasters. Employers can also put processes in place such as requiring that users create strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication when accessing Websites for banks, vendors, etc. Finally, technologies like malware detection, password managers, and automated backups are available to help prevent attacks and mitigate the result should one occur. I have implemented such approaches professionally and at home. Something similar may work for your business.

To learn more about how to protect your business from a potential cybersecurity threat, please join me at SCORE Bucks County’s Oct. 30 workshop, “Protecting your Business: Understanding and Mitigating Cybersecurity Threats.” This seminar will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at James-Lorah Memorial Home, 132 N. Main St., in Doylestown. Cost is $20, which includes lunch. Register at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=bmwxhscab&oeidk=a07eglqnvdwf62b0757.

About the Author(s)

Charlie Morris

Charlie Morris is a volunteer mentor with SCORE Bucks County. He has worked in the technology industry focusing on commercial software products for 38 years and served the last 20 years in executive roles. Charlie is the President and owner of CDM Agility Consulting which consults on various software development topics and develops business analytics dashboards.

SCORE Certified Mentor, SCORE Bucks County
Ask SCORE: How Can I Protect My Business from a Cyber Attack?