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Why CyberSecurity is Important for SMBs

iStock_000021053015XSmallCyberSecurity, more than ever, is something that must be addressed regularly. Crime conducted over the internet has reached epidemic proportions. In a poll we conducted just a few months back, we found that the overwhelming majority of SMB owners feel their website is secure. In fact, 86 percent believed that to be the case. We were shocked (and cringe to be the ones who have to tell them they are light-years removed from such good fortune.)

Back in August, our technology division authored a blog that addressed the question, “How worried should small businesses be regarding cyber security?” We were shocked (and cringe to be the ones who have to tell them they are light-years removed from such good fortune.)

But (and this isn’t breaking news), cyber attacks are on the rise – big time.

By some estimates, network-based attacks, such as DDOS (short for Distributed Denial of Services), which have the ability to take down large computing networks, have increased by 700 percent this year.

Targeted DDOS attacks against internet service providers, domain registrars, web hosting providers, and individual businesses have been known to cripple thousands of websites simultaneously for extended periods of time.

Instances of hacking—or cyber intrusion tactics—have also become increasingly brazen and widespread. In July, 2013 federal prosecutors indicted five hackers in what is being called the largest data-theft ring in U.S. history, their victims as varied as J.C. Penny, JetBlue, and NASDAQ.

Even major technology brands, like Apple, who possess near-limitless resources to protect themselves against such attacks, are vulnerable. A recent security breach shut down its developer website, causing the Cupertino giant to issue an apology with an admission that personal data of some of its third-party app developers—a relationship worth billions to Apple—may have been accessed.

So, as small-business owners, how worried should you be? After all, if Apple is vulnerable, what chance do small businesses stand?

A recent report from cybersecurity firm McAfee might offer us a good point of reference.

According to this report, released earlier this month, the costs associated with criminal cyber activity in the U.S. alone may be as much as $140 billion—and a half-million American jobs—annually.

The report also included this interesting point of comparison: the annual costs of car crashes in the U.S., which is estimated to be anywhere between $99 and $168 billion.

Auto accidents, as it turns out, provide us with a nice analogy when it comes to how much we should worry about—and how we should prepare for—malicious and targeted cyber activity against our businesses and livelihoods.

According to a survey authored by the Ponemon Institute, a research firm that conducts independent research on privacy, data protection, and information security policy, more than half of U.S. small businesses experienced at least one data breach.

In today’s world of constant risk-assessment, that’s a pretty big risk to be left unmitigated. So, to oversimplify an answer to our lead question – SMBs should be extremely concerned about cyber security.

Should you wish to find out what your company can do to protect itself, contact one of our experts directly at 1-877-323-4678.

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