Cybersecurity: A Very Real, Yet Unrealized Threat to Small Business Owners

Stop. Think. Connect. That’s the name of the national campaign designed to enhance public awareness about cybersecurity and its very real threat to America’s safety and its businesses in particular.

Its message is definitely a necessary one…

A new survey of U.S. small- and medium-sized (SMB) business owners by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec shows that far too many of them (77%) have a false sense of security when it comes to cyber threats such as hackers, viruses, malware or a cybersecurity breach. As a result, 83% of them report they have no formal cybersecurity plan in place to protect themselves.

If you are a business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity, franchise or other SMB owner and you fit this description, these findings should serve as a wake-up call, according to Brian Burch, vice president of Americas Marketing for SMB at Symantec. “It’s terrifying that the majority of U.S. small businesses believe their information is protected, yet so many do not have the required policies or protection in place to remain safe,” he said. “Almost 40% of the over 1 billion cyberattacks (we) prevented in the first (quarter) of 2012 targeted companies with less than 500 employees.”

Given that the average estimated cost of a cyberattack to a small business is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000, denial and inaction on the part of their owners is more than likely a recipe for disaster. “It’s often fatal to their businesses,” Burch warns.

With an eye toward helping SMB owners to improve their online safety practices and in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FCC has launched a new and updated version of its small business cyber planner. The result of an unprecedented public-private partnership between government experts and private IT and security companies, the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 is a free online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans.

The new planner is designed to be particularly valuable for businesses with few resources to dedicate to cybersecurity issues. It first walks users through a series of questions to determine what cybersecurity strategies would work best for them and then generates a customized PDF template to assist with implementation. In addition, the planner features new details about everything from cyber insurance and best practices on spyware to damage mitigation steps and remote cleaning and tracking options.

In addition to the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, the FCC also released an updated one-page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet especially for small businesses.

To access the online resources mentioned here that are designed to assist you and your small business in maintaining your own cybersecurity, simply click on them here:

FCC Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0

FCC Ten Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses 

• FCC News Release on new cyber planner

• Symantec News Release on survey findings


• National Cyber Security Awareness Month Web Portal

• U.S. Department of Homeland Security STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign Portal