With Risk Rising, Small Businesses Can Protect Themselves From Cybercriminals – Pratt Tribune

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By Jessica Campos Director of the Women’s Business Center

Many small business owners wonder how cybersecurity relates to their business or think they could never fall victim to cybercriminals.

But, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), cyberattacks pose a growing threat to entrepreneurs and the US economy. In 2020 alone, the FBI reported that the cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion.

While some small businesses have little or no financial resources to devote to enterprise IT solutions, tools are available to help understand the risks and where improvements can be made.

The Federal Communications Commission, for example, offers a free planning and assessment tool for business owners to develop a strategy based on their unique needs. There are also free online resources from the Department of Homeland Security, including a Cyber ​​Resilience Review, a Cyber ​​Hygiene Vulnerability Scan, and a Supply Chain Risk Management Toolkit.

Additionally, resources are available to train employees, a key part of developing a cybersecurity plan. According to the SBA, employees and emails are a leading cause of data breaches because they provide a direct path to corporate systems. Training topics include using good browsing practices, preventing suspicious downloads, creating strong passwords, and protecting sensitive information.

The SBA suggests that companies use and keep anti-virus software up-to-date, protect Internet connections by using a firewall and encrypting information, and if using Wi-Fi, make sure it’s on. secure and hidden. Regularly backing up data, working with bank and card processors on a secure payment process, and preventing unauthorized access or use of company computers can also improve security.

Being able to use technology is essential for small businesses. Having a good plan and consistent practices will go a long way in protecting them from cybercriminals.

For more information and training resources, visit sba.gov and search “Stay Safe From Cybersecurity Threats.”

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