Cyber Security

Cyber attacks are a growing concern for small businesses. Learn about the threats and how to protect yourself.

A report by the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance estimated that 60% of all SMBs fail within six months of a cyberattack.

The threat is real.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s wise not to underestimate your risk. Small businesses are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.

According to Towergate Insurance, Many small businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks because they believe “they don’t have anything worth stealing”. and when one strikes, the toll on a small business can be overwhelming. One of the best ways to prepare for and defend against a cyber threat is to maintain awareness of common threats.

Cyberattacks continue evolving with changes in technology, but you can and should be aware of the most common types.

$6 Trillion

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually in 2021.

Cybersecurity management and awareness are critical to managing a business and protecting sensitive business and customer data in the information age.

The SBDC can help your business understand how to detect potential threats and prepare for and prevent any cyberattacks.

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Start by learning about common cyber threats, understanding where your business is vulnerable, and taking steps to improve your cybersecurity.

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Let us help boost your business’s cyber defense. Our services are taxpayer-funded and come to you at no cost.

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Malware (malicious software) is a blanket term that refers to viruses, trojans, and other harmful software like spyware and ransomware that is designed to cause damage, disruption, and destruction in order to gain access to sensitive information.


Websters dictionary defines a virus as “a computer program that is usually disguised as an innocuous program or file, that often produces copies of itself and inserts them into other programs, and that when run usually performs a malicious action (such as destroying data or damaging software)”


Ransomware is a specific type of malware that infects and restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is usually delivered through phishing emails and exploits unpatched vulnerabilities in software.


Phishing is a type of cyber attack that uses email or a malicious website to infect your machine with malware or collect your sensitive information. Phishing emails appear as though they’ve been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often entice users to click on a link or open an attachment containing malicious code. After the code is run, your computer may become infected with malware.

Practical first steps

Start by learning about common cyber threats, understanding where your business is vulnerable, and taking steps to improve your cybersecurity.

Employee Awareness

Employees and emails are a leading cause of data breaches for small businesses because they directly enter your systems. Training employees on basic internet best practices can go a long way in preventing cyber attacks.

Back It Up

It’s important to regularly back up the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. If possible, back up data automatically or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

Use Strong Passwords

Passwords are often the first line of defense against preventing attackers from accessing your computer and personal data. The stronger the password, the stronger your computer will be protected from hackers and malicious software.

Characteristics of strong passwords

  • At least 8 characters—the more characters, the better.
  • A mixture of both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • A mixture of letters and numbers.
  • Inclusion of at least one special character, e.g., ! @ # ? ] Note: do not use < or > in your password, as both can cause problems in Web browsers.

Practice Cyber Hygiene

Monitoring your cybersecurity routinely can greatly increase your safety and help your business avoid online threats. Carefully monitoring your cyber defense requires intention and discipline, but the time invested could ultimately save your business from a costly attack. Read more about Cyber Hygiene