Most small businesses not prepared for security attacks, according to survey

October 15, 2012

Although employees believe their companies are protected from sophisticated hacker attacks, small business owners are not taking the proper security measures, placing confidential information at risk.

A security firm recently partnered with the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NSCA) to conduct their annual survey and educate professionals about the importance of data protection. Based on the results of 1,015 small to mid-sized businesses polled, 77 percent of American company owners believe their organizations are safe from hackers, viruses and data breaches, and 73 percent of professionals say that web security is crucial to their institutions' success. However, 83 percent do not have a formal cybersecurity plan in place.

As more organizations rely on the internet to run efficiently and store information, employers have trouble establishing policies, handling breaches and providing security management, according to the report.

"A data breach or hacking incident can really harm SMBs and unfortunately lead to a lack of trust from consumers, partners and suppliers," said Michael Kaiser, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Small businesses must make plans to protect their businesses from cyber threats and help employees stay safe online."

Experts agree that in the event of a cyberattack, a plan can ensure data protection. Owners should test plans frequently, install security software and update operating systems to prevent unauthorized users from accessing information. Backing up data - whether in the cloud or on an offsite location - can also help a business quickly start up if they are affected by a natural disaster, power outage or external attack.

Employees should be educated on security guidelines and the latest threats to avoid mishaps. Strong passwords that contain at least eight characters, and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols are recommended to keep information safe. 

-McAfee Cloud Security