You have heard about it in the news over and over again. Hackers and cyber-attacks wreaking havoc on companies like Target, Equifax, Facebook, and even portions of the federal government. Discussions of data breaches and data security are becoming an everyday occurrence. Here are three reasons small businesses need to take a look at cyber security:

The frequency and costs associated with cyber-attacks are increasing.

In fact this reality was predicted by Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM said in 2015, ““We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true—even inevitable—then cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.” And the cost is astronomical. The latest research shows that cybercrime damages are predicted to reach $6 trillion annually in the next three years.

More than half of cyber-attacks are aimed at smaller companies.

This type of news might lead you to believe that it is only the big companies that are at risk. But, for every big company you hear about in the news, there are thousands of small companies being breached. A recent poll by Insureon found that at one in six small businesses have experienced a data breach, but 62% felt that their data wasn’t at risk. It is estimated that more than half of cyber-attacks are aimed at small and mid-sized companies, because they tend to have less security in place.

The data stored at your company is probably less secure than you think.

Consider the data at your organization. Do you store customer information, such as names, phone numbers, and email address on your computers?  What about credit card or banking information? Beyond customers, there is the security of your employee’s information to consider. Do you have employee’s personal information, including social security numbers on any of your computers? This all makes you and your business more vulnerable to a cyber-attack. You don’t need a cyber-attack to have valuable data breached. What protections do you have in place if you or your employee leaves a company laptop or phone at a coffee shop? 13% percent of cyber losses are caused by loss laptops or phones.

Now that you are ready to take cyber security seriously at your organization, what should you do? Many small businesses don’t even consider what protections they should put into place to protect their company. Your first line of defense will always be your employees. Here are four things you can do to immediately improve cyber security:

  1. Require employees to create strong passwords, insist that they change them every 45-90 days and prohibit them from using the same password twice.
  2. Implement specific employee protocol to protect sensitive data.
  3. Remind your employees to never connect to the company network over an unsecure, public Wi-Fi network.
  4. Train employees to recognize suspicious activity and encourage them to report such activities immediately.

In addition to taking these steps, most businesses should consider purchasing Cyber Insurance to help protect its business assets in the event of a cyber breach. Helpside’s sister company, A Plus Risk & Insurance works with several carriers that are experts in writing cyber insurance.  They can help your business identify what type of cyber insurance is right for your company. Contact A Plus Risk & Insurance today for a free, no-obligation quote for Cyber Insurance at (801) 443-1194.