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SMBs Beware! Data Breaches Aren’t Just for the Big Guys

 

describe the imageAccording to The Hartford Small Business Data Protection Survey, 85 percent of more than 500 small business owners believe a data breach is unlikely and many don’t implement security measures to help protect customer or employee data.

In a 2011 Symantec SMB Threat Awareness Poll, 1900 small and midsize businesses were surveyed on what they’re doing to protect against data breaches. Believe it or not, while organizations were aware of the threats, they felt their small size made them less vulnerable to attack. Not true! SMB owners, it’s time to pull your heads out of the sand and get proactive about protecting against data breaches. Because small and midsize businesses don’t generally have the security budget or resources of big companies and mega corporations, they’re easier targets for thieves.

Cyber hackers (including disgruntled employees) are constantly looking for ways to steal your company’s intellectual property, sensitive business data, and Personally Identifiable Information – just about anything you hold near and dear -- while damaging your company’s reputation…and your bottom line. Take a look at The Verizon 2011 Data Breach investigations Report  where 63% of breaches in 2010 involved organizations with no more than 100 employees. 

And employees unwittingly expose their companies to data breaches everyday -- keeping passwords on computers, lured to phony websites and tricked into giving away confidential information, losing their unsecured mobile devices– the scenarios are endless as are the potential for breaches.

So, how can an SMB keep valuable data secure in the face of growing attacks?

In their survey, The Harford found business owners varying their adoption of eight data protection "best practices" to help reduce an organization's risk of a breach:

1. Lock and secure sensitive customer, patient or employee data - 48 percent

2. Restrict employee access to sensitive data - 79 percent

3. Shred and securely dispose of customer, patient or employee data - 53 percent

4. Use password protection and data encryption - 48 percent

5. Have a privacy policy - 44 percent

6. Update systems and software on a regular basis - 47 percent

7. Use firewalls to control access and lock-out hackers - 48 percent

8. Ensure that remote access to their company's network is secure - 41 percent

       Or, you can stick your head back in the sand.

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