Small businesses lack cybersecurity savvy


Study suggests American businesses have a false sense of security when it comes to the Internet

What you don't know-or aren't concerned about- can hurt you, your clients, your employees, and your practice. That's because without proper cybersecurity training and education, your practice is at risk of losing vital customer and company data. Chances are, you're like most small businesses in America. You store client information, including credit card data, and practice financial records online. At least, that's what the latest data from the National Small Business Cybersecurity Study suggests.

According to the study, co-sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec, 65 percent of U.S. small business store customer data online, 33 percent credit card data, and 43 percent keep financial records online. However, only 28 percent of those companies had formal Internet security policies. And of those that did, only 35 percent provided training to employees. What's more, of the 62 percent of businesses using a wireless network, 25 percent do not use a password to protect their system, the study shows.

One reason small businesses may be so lax with Internet safety and security is because they feel it isn't a priority to their clients. Only 6 percent of respondents said they feared losing customer data and 42 percent said they believed their customers were concerned with their IT security. Another reason may be that 9 out of 10 business owners trust that the policies they have in place are sufficient protection. But NCSA questions if that trust is misplaced. The study found that 11 percent of these owners never check their computers to ensure their anti-virus systems are up-to-date.

So if you store sensitive information online, consider upgrading your cybersecurity awareness and education to ensure your and your clients' safety.

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