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Breached Data Means Big Problems for Small Businesses

Addressing a new era of data security

March 27, 2014 By Luis Orbegoso
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According to a recent Experian report, 60 percent of small business owners who have suffered a data breach go out of business with six months of the breach. If you're a small business owner and not implementing the proper measures for data protection, you're opening yourself up to a huge risk.

Data breaches are a threat for a business of any size, but according to the National Small Business Association, a single cyber attack costs a small business an average of $8,669.48, not accounting for the ripple effects of decreased sales and reduced trust and tainted reputation after a breach occurs.

Proactive security measures for monitoring and managing data can save time and money for small businesses across a range of industries. Here are a few simple steps any small business owner can take to help protect against data breaches:

1. Establish data security guidelines. Small business owners should create data policies and provide adequate training to ensure employees are equipped to handle sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII). The National Cyber Security Alliance found that only 28 percent of U.S. small businesses have formal internet security policies, leaving the remainder at risk. Business owners should start by assessing how they collect, process and store data, along with identifying the individuals in their company who have access to various levels of information. This exercise will help in identifying risks and establishing policies and training unique to the business.  

2. Secure physical and digital environments. Business owners need to understand how physical and digital environments are interconnected. Security breaches, whether physical or digital, typically boil down to one thing: access. Thus, securing the premises of any establishment is a critical first line of defense in protecting point-of-sale systems, computers and hard drives that live within the walls of the business.

The next layer of defense is to protect data on devices using appropriate encryption and data security software, and similarly protecting mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones that are even more vulnerable to be lost or stolen. ADT recently announced a partnership with McAfee to bridge the gap between physical and digital security and ultimately introduce new solutions to address both areas of vulnerability.

 

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