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Cybersecurity: Key to Celebrating Small Business Success

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

When it comes to owning a small business, the issue of just how critical cybersecurity is – in terms of protecting your customers and employees while, at the same time, preserving your bottom line – can be tough to measure.

It’s a balancing act and, at times, it feels like you’re juggling a few chain saws while on roller skates.

And most days, to use a football analogy, all you have to do is pick up a yard and you keep moving forward. Your team is experienced and all you’re doing is filling an order for a longtime customer that you’ve done every week for years. Your ordering systems, including how your customer’s data is handled, operates as it should, and business is good, right?

Except, today, when you lined up to get it done, suddenly, something happened. Someone on your staff opened up an email, clicked on a link, and just like that, a phishing attack has occurred and you’re not in control of your business.

It’s as though you’re that team  from the movie, “Little Giants”, and you’re facing off against Spike and the Cowboys. It also helps explain why 43 percent of all data breaches involve small- and medium-sized businesses and fully 61 percent of all small businesses have reported at least one cyberattack during the previous year. It’s certainly not the news anyone wants to hear, but, at the same time, the opportunity and the resources are out there to help small business owners use cybersecurity as a tool for helping them grow and that’s a reason to celebrate.

It's National Small Business Week and this year’s theme is “Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship”. What better way to celebrate the resiliency and tenacity of business owners, here in Indiana and across the country? For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized the critical contributions of these entrepreneurs to our nation’s economy and the communities, in which their businesses are located.

Among the resources that are available includes the Business website page of our Indiana Cyber Hub.  There you’ll find links to free, easy-to-use, online quizzes – including the Indiana Cybersecurity Scorecard – to help assess your understanding of cybersecurity and provide you with meaningful feedback on what you can do to make your business more secure.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission offers 10 Cybersecurity Tips for everything from training employees and creating a firewall to creating a mobile device plan to help protect confidential information. It’s a good idea to:

  • Make backup copies of important business data
  • Control the physical access employees have to your computers and create user accounts to help minimize the occurrence of laptops and other mobile devices from being lost or stolen
  • Require employees to use unique passwords (and update them every three months) and consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry to critical systems/data.

To help stay informed as it regards some of the more malicious cyber activity that’s out there, be sure to visit the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency’s (CISA) Shields Up website.

When it comes to keeping your business cyber safe, most of these best practices and helpful tips can be downloaded safely and installed – at no cost -- as a part of your business.

Should a problem arise, and your business is impacted by a cyber incident, you’ll want to be sure and report it as a way to help you recover. Be sure to visit our “Report A Cyber Incident” page on the Indiana Cyber Hub website. You’ll be able to do everything from the steps on how to contact law enforcement to tips on a variety of cyber threat sharing resources.

After all, you’re not always going to be able to run the “Annexation of Puerto Rico” to get you out of trouble to protect your business (but it’d sure be fun)!