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Cyber Attack! …It’s Not a Sci Fi Movie

We hear about it every day. Hackers infiltrate computer servers at some of the nation’s top corporations and government agencies. They may not always access classified information, but the data they do obtain can be just as damaging.

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What about you? Are you prepared if your servers are compromised? Do you think that because you’re a small or medium-sized company that no one would bother you? Think again.

As a result of the growing number of cyber attacks against high-profile companies, the U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology recently held a hearing on “Protecting Small Businesses against Emerging and Complex Cyber-Attacks.”

A study by the subcommittee found that more than 75% of small businesses believe they are safe from attack. The reality is that hackers tend to target businesses with 250 or fewer employees.

Consider this—a 2011 study by Symantec/NCSA found that cyber attacks cost small and medium-size businesses an average of $188,242 and, almost two-thirds of victimized companies are forced out of business within six months of the attack.

Do you have a cyber security plan? A 2012 survey of American small businesses conducted by Symantec found that 83% lack a formal plan. But where do you begin?

Below are six important components of a plan:

  1. Encrypt important data like employee social security numbers and financial information.
  2. Install tracking software on laptops and tablets to recover the devices in the event of theft.
  3. Install anti-malware and anti-virus software on all computers.
  4. Small companies usually don’t have a risk management team, so consider hiring an external firm to protect your organization’s sensitive data.
  5. Educate your employees on the signs of a cyber attack and make sure they know who to notify to report suspicious activity.
  6. Purchase cyber liability insurance – it’s more affordable and covers more than you think. And, a general liability policy won’t cover you in the event of a data breach. Even if your website and data are hosted elsewhere, you’re still responsible.

Still think you don’t need a cyber liability plan? You really can’t afford NOT to have one…