October is National Cyber-Security Awareness Month. Not many people are knowledgeable of this fact, as October is filled with many causes and national observances. But the purpose of designated months is to break through the clutter and serve as a quick reminder.

Although we have made great strides in the last two years to make business owners aware of the issues, some are still at, what I refer to as, the “disregard” stage when the topic of “Cyber-Security” is raised.  For many, Cyber-Security is simply a headline on the nightly news, a sound bite, a bit of conversation that passes through. It doesn’t seem real. They consider it something that happens to other companies, other businesses that are not vigilant. Ironically even businesses that are aware, take precautions, know the risks and attempt to secure their information, can often find themselves vulnerable.

I was curious to read stories of small business owners and their thoughts on Cyber-Security and I was not surprised by the findings:

  • Rieva Lesonsky of www.smallbizdaily.com was astonished when her website, the “go-to” read for information for entrepreneurs was hacked in 2012. She was in the middle of researching and composing an article concerning cyber-breaches, when she became aware that her site was infiltrated. Her web-hosting company was targeted with many of their other clients also experiencing similar hacks.
  • The Wall Street Journal interviewed owner Joe Angelastri about data stolen from his small businesses. Cyber thieves planted a software program on the cash registers at his two Chicago-area magazine shops that sent customer credit-card numbers to Russia. MasterCard Inc. demanded an investigation, at Mr. Angelastri's expense, and the whole ordeal left him out about $22,000.

The common-theme always seems to be; the small business owner is shocked that their store was targeted or that THEIR data was lifted. And the statistics support this.  A 2015 report from McAfee found almost 90% of small- and medium-sized business in the US do not use data protection for company and customer information, and less than half secured company email to prevent phishing scams.

Every business has vulnerabilities in their security systems, from the largest retailer down to the corner “mom and pop” shop. It is a constant cat and mouse game between the software developers to build fortresses and the malware creators working to tear them down, or find a way through.

The only true way to protect yourself is Insurance. It is the ultimate stronghold against any cyber breach. It is there to defend you when all the software fails. Insurance is there to clean up the mess and make your business “whole” after the damage is done.

Links to Additional Resources and Helpful Tips:

  • Warwick Resource Group Cyber-Security Insurance Information: CLICK HERE
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Links:
  1. Tips on how to secure your business: CLICK HERE
  2. Training Tools: CLICK HERE
  • F.B.I. Resources for Small Business Owners: CLICK HERE