by Pam Dwyer
According to the 2011 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon and the U.S. Secret Service, “small to medium-sized businesses represent prime attack targets for many hackers, who favor highly automated, repeatable attacks against these more vulnerable targets. They are engaging in small, opportunistic attacks rather than large-scale, difficult attacks and are using relatively unsophisticated methods to successfully penetrate organizations.”
Why are small businesses are increasingly targeted by hackers and cyber-criminals? Because they don’t have the protection many larger companies do. They have limited financial and IT resources, are too busy running their business to focus on data security, and are often unaware of the consequences. These criminals hone in these small businesses with the intent to steal valuable data such as bank account information and even customer, employee and vendor information.
To prepare your small business against hackers and cyber theft, create a layered prevention/protection program that will ensure your company’s long-term financial health and stability. First, educate employees about cyber safety. Then develop action plan, which includes five key professionals – attorney, accountant, insurance agent, banker and IT specialist. Since small businesses are likely to have relationships with all of these advisors, they may just need to add data breach and cyber theft to the conversation within each of these areas.
What Each Advisor Can Offer
- An attorney can provide information about data breach laws and liability issues
- An accountant can offer a fraud risk assessment to determine internal and external fraud controls, policies and procedures
- An insurance agent can suggest risk management practices and data breach insurance coverage
- A banker can help implement fraud prevention services such as Positive Pay if you issue checks and use dual control and a dedicated PC for online financial transactions
- An IT professional will help locate vulnerabilities in your system and tell you how to guard against breaches
If you do not take action, your small businesses could be impacted by the lurking potential threat of cybercrime.