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NAVIGATION

October 15, 2019

Ask the Experts

Preparing for the Unexpected

| 4/22/2019

Cybersecurity

While cyberattacks against big companies get the lion’s share of media attention, it is small businesses that are actually in greatest peril, and Florida businesses may be especially at risk. According to the FBI, Florida ranks No. 3 in the nation for cybercrime incidents. To avoid becoming a victim, learn all you can about cybersecurity and take preventive measures now.

Q

I’m a small niche business so I can’t imagine anyone would want to hack my company. Do I really need to be concerned about cybersecurity?

AYes, and here are two reasons why:

1. More than half of cyberattacks nationwide are aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses, and they are on the rise. In 2017, 61% of cyberattacks targeted small businesses, up from 55% the previous year. You need to be concerned about cybersecurity because cyberbullies are primarily concerned with targeting businesses just like yours.

2. Thieves think differently about business size. They know, for example, that a small jewelry store probably has more valuables to steal than a large lumberyard. Likewise, your business may be small in stature, but it likely contains important assets in the form of confidential digital information on clients, employees, vendors and/or partners that need to be protected.

Whether you are working solo from an office in your home or running a mid-sized company with 50 employees, you must take responsibility for the safety and care of all of your business assets, digital included. Don’t wait for a cyberattack; act now!

Answer provided by Marc Farron
Consultant, Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University

 

5 Tips to boost cybersecurity
1. Be proactive. Equip all computers with antivirus software/antispyware and update often. Safeguard your internet connection with a firewall and encrypting information. Password protect router access on your Wi-Fi network.

2. Educate employees. Establish written policies for handling/protecting sensitive data, using social networking sites and reporting lost or stolen equipment; hold employees accountable if they violate these policies.

3. Limit entry. Create a separate user account for each employee and restrict administrative privileges to trusted IT staff and key personnel. Use multifactor authentication (password + additional information) to gain entry; change passwords often.

4. Create backups. Back up critical data on all computers automatically; store copies offsite or on the cloud.

5. Control physical access. Lock computers when unattended; require employees to password protect personal mobile devices that access your business network and install security apps to prevent data theft.

 

Florida Cybersecurity Conference
In 2018, Florida SBDC hosted 455 participants at 25 cyber workshops across Florida … and more are scheduled. Check with your nearest Florida SBDC office for upcoming events and locations.

Need Help?

Every small business should be prepared to weather a cyberattack. If yours is not, look to the Florida SBDC Network for assistance. Attend a workshop on cybersecurity basics for small business and/or connect with an Florida SBDC counselor for one-on-one guidance in structuring a cybersecurity plan tailored to your specific needs.

Tags: Florida Small Business, Ask the Experts

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