WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) kicks off its fourth week today with an emphasis on how small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can better protect themselves from cybersecurity threats. http://ncsam.info/1s2dOV3
As larger enterprises strengthen their Internet security, cybercriminals are targeting small- and medium- sized businesses –which often have less resources dedicated to cybersecurity – at an alarming rate. According to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group, 44 percent of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks, costing an average of $8,700 per attack.
Last year, businesses with less than 250 employees accounted for 30 percent of targeted attacks compared to 18 percent in 2011, as reported in Symantec's Internet Security Threat report. Combining attacks on enterprises with 251-500 employees, the number jumps to 41 percent of all attacks, compared with 36 percent in 2012.
"Every day businesses of all sizes become more dependent on the Internet to serve their customers, grow their business and gain efficiencies," said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). "They need to focus on cyber risks and making sure they are doing all they can to protect their networks and valuable data, and create a culture of cybersecurity within their organizations."
In 2013, NCSA and Business Executives for National Security launched RE: Cyber, an initiative dedicated to helping CEOs and corporate boards manage their cyber risks. This year, NCSA will assume a leadership position in driving and expanding the program. From public to private sector, the RE: Cyber website provides a strategic toolkit for SMBs and larger companies that empowers them to create a unique cybersecurity roadmap.
"Because of several recent data breaches, customers are becoming more nervous about handing over their personal information to businesses," said Katherine Hutt, national spokesperson for Better Business Bureau (BBB). "Small businesses can protect their customers by first protecting themselves with strong tools and procedures to safeguard their online access credentials. Having a data security policy in place will help build the customer trust that is so essential to running a business."
With the number of serious breaches in the last year, it may seem to some business owners that there is little they can do protect their business. In fact, every business has a responsibility. It can start with these easy steps from NCSA and BBB:
- Focus on what needs to be protected - Create a risk management plan that identifies both critical company and customer information that must be secured.
- Forecast the consequences of a successful attack - Quantify the risk and what could happen as a result a successful cyber attack against your company.
- Create a culture of cybersecurity - Teach your employees to STOP.THINK.CONNECT. and to understand the value of protecting company and customer information and the importance of security to the business.
- Talk to your employees about vulnerabilities - Links in email, social media posts and online can lead to malware. When in doubt, throw it out! And encourage your employees to speak up if they notice strange happenings on their computer.
- Have a plan - Hacks, data breaches and other cybercrime happen every day, and so do fires, floods and burglary. Have a plan in place to grow your cybersecurity protections that also addresses how you would respond if an attack occurs.
For more information from BBB on how businesses can make their data secure, visit http://go.bbb.org/biz-toolkits or the NCSA and Department of Homeland Security STOP.THINK.CONNECT. guide for small businesses, http://www.stcguide.com/explore/small-business.
As small- and medium-sized businesses take center stage during NCSAM, digital leaders across several industries will be hosting and participating in key events across the country including:
Cybersecurity for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Capital Factory, the University of Texas and the Austin Chamber of Commerce will host a keystone event on Tuesday, October 21 in Austin highlighting the cyber risks, best practices and resources most applicable to small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs for protecting data and intellectual property. For more information visit http://ncsam.info/1tF84rC.
Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C³ Voluntary Program: To encourage use of the NIST Framework to strengthen critical infrastructure cybersecurity, "C Cubed" is the coordination point within the Federal Government for critical infrastructure owners and operators interested in improving their cyber risk management processes. Launched in February 2014 to coincide with the release of the final Framework, the C³ Voluntary Program's focus during the first year will be engagement with Sector-Specific Agencies (SSAs) and organizations using the Framework to develop guidance on how to implement the Framework. Later phases of the C³ Voluntary Program will broaden the program's reach to all critical infrastructure and businesses of all sizes that are interested in using the Framework. For more information visit http://ncsam.info/1omNqdR.
Solving for Cyber: The Business of Building Trust: As part of Visa's Digital Series, Bloomberg Government will convene experts in Austin on Tuesday, October 21 to highlight the people, schools, start-ups, and corporate heavy-hitters breaking the mold of how we protect our digital, financial and personal identities. For more information, visit http://ncsam.info/1t4fQZP.
Nasdaq Media Roundtable: NCSA in partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Business Executives for National Security (BENS) and Nasdaq, will host a media roundtable, "Where Do We Go From Here: Collaboration, Innovation and the Future of Cybersecurity," at Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City on Wednesday, October 22.
About National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Now in its 11th year, NCSAM is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in cooperation with the NCSA and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Celebrated each year in October, NCSAM includes the participation of a multitude of industry leaders – reaching consumers, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people. Mobilizing everyone – from small businesses, local non-profits and academia to multinational corporations and governments – NCSAM is harnessing the collective impact of its programs and resources to increase awareness about today's ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.
It's Never Too Late to Get Involved!
NCSAM supporters can get the latest news and updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline and on Twitter at @StaySafeOnline. This week's Twitter chat, one of a month-long series of Twitter chats, is Thursday, October 23 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time using the hashtag #chatSTC. NCSAM's official Twitter hashtag is #NCSAM. A full calendar of Twitter chats is available at: http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/twitterchats. NCSA also welcomes organizations to show their support for NCSAM by becoming an official NCSAM Champion and submitting their registration at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/. So far, close to 400 champions have signed up to spread the word.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit public private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and non-profit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast Corporation, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Leidos, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Symantec, Trend Micro, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, NCSA's mission is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use and protect the digital assets we all share. For more information on NCSA please visit: http://www.staysafeonline.org/about-us/overview/
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign. The campaign was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The Department of Homeland Security leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved at STOP.THINK.CONNECT.org.
SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance