National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, marked annually in October, is sandwiched this year between one of the largest reported data breaches in history and the busiest online shopping period of the year. Now, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau says a new study shows small businesses are having difficulty calculating the cost versus risk of strengthening protection of their vital information. And state and federal authorities have formed a new statewide task force to investigate cybersecurity crimes.
The study, conducted by the Council of Better Business Bureau concludes that while most small businesses are aware of specific threats, the majority are at odds about how to prevent becoming a victim.
“Awareness of the potential and perceived cybersecurity threats is a crucial starting point,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz. “The study shows that most small businesses are strengthening their data protection to some degree, however, it concludes they must place more emphasis on employee education to prevent cybercrime.”
In an online survey of 1,100 businesses in North America, The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America finds 81 percent of small businesses use basic data protection tools such as antivirus software, and 75 percent protect their systems with firewalls. The downside is that the report reveals less than half of respondents concentrate on employee education, which is considered by the authors to be one of the most cost-effective prevention tools.
The most compelling reason for small businesses to take stronger cybersecurity measures, BBB points out, is because half of the study’s respondents said they could not remain profitable for more than one month if their essential data was stolen.