Whether your business includes just you, a team of contractors, or several dedicated in-house employees, you should take time to verify that your cyber liability risk is as low as possible in 2013. Luckily, a little education can go a long way: a study conducted in late 2012 found that 90 percent of respondents had had no cyber security training in the last year. A whopping 68 percent had never had such training.
Research on small businesses shows how problematic that is. The National Cyber Security Alliance’s 2012 National Small Business Study found that…
- 73 percent of small businesses note that a secure Internet hookup is critical to the success of their business; nearly half cited secure web access as “very critical.”
- 83 percent of small businesses have no written protocol for ensuring their cyber security.
- 71 percent of small businesses note that their revenue is at least partially dependent on the web.
How to Minimize Cyber Liability in 2013
Considering the growing reliance of small businesses on the Internet, small-business owners should take some basic cyber-safety measures to ensure that their ability to conduct business isn’t compromised by a preventable breach.
Because employees are responsible for 39 percent of data breaches, make sure that your team knows the essentials of protecting sensitive information online:
- Use email wisely. Spammers are getting more sophisticated, so even email-savvy employees need a refresher. Make sure all auto-download features are disabled and that everyone avoids downloading suspicious files, especially those with a .exe extension, which launches programs immediately.
- Stick to wireless Internet protocol. Small businesses often rely on contractors who work remotely. If you do, be sure to establish protocol for using secure wireless networks and for what work can be completed on an unsecure network.
- Manage mobile devices with care. Mobile devices cause about 40 percent of data breaches, so setting guidelines for secure use is essential. Learn more about preventing major threats to mobile devices here.
It’s important to be honest about your risk level and protections: if you are too strapped for resources to create and enforce stringent cyber guidelines for yourself and your team, you can still protect your business against potential breaches by investing in cyber liability insurance, which will cover the costs associated with legal action taken if a data breach does occur. Insurance should not be your only form of protection, but it provides a layer of security that is difficult to achieve when managing a team of remote workers.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter