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FCC Launches the Small Biz Cyber Planner

by: Jordan Usdan and Josh Gottheimer, Chairman's Office

November 17, 2011

The FCC is launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. This is the result of an unprecedented public-private partnership between government experts and private IT and security companies, including DHS, NCSA, NIST, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Chertoff Group, Symantec, Sophos, Visa, Microsoft, HP, McAfee, The Identity Theft Council, ADP and others. The online tool is available at FCC.gov/cyberplanner.

By almost any measure small businesses have an outsized impact on our economy and it is critically important that small businesses, a vibrant engine for job and idea creation, are secure using the many broadband enabled tools they need to efficiently run their businesses. According to a survey released in October, 2011 by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), two-thirds of U.S. small businesses rely on broadband Internet for their day-to-day operations.  

However, the Symantec survey also found that 85 percent of small businesses think their companies are cyber-secure, but barely half of these businesses actually have a cybersecurity strategy or plan in place and nearly 80 percent say they lack a written Internet security policy. With larger companies increasing their online defenses, small businesses are now the low hanging fruit for cyber criminals and many may have a false sense of security.

The Small Biz Cyber Planner will be of particular value for businesses that lack the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to protect themselves from cyber-threats. Even a business with one computer or one credit card terminal can benefit from this important guidance.  The tool will walk users through a series of questions to determine what cybersecurity strategies should be included in the planning guide. Then a customized PDF is created that will serve as a cybersecurity strategy template for a small business.

This effort is part of an ongoing program to raise awareness about the cybersecurity risks to small businesses and to help these businesses become cyber-secure. Earlier this year, the FCC and a coalition of public and private-sector partners developed a cybersecurity tip sheet, which includes tips to educate business owners about basic steps they can take immediately to protect their companies. The tip sheet is available at FCC.gov/cyberforsmallbiz.

Also this month, Hewlett Packard is distributing the FCC’s cybersecurity tip sheet through its HP.com Security Center, its small business newsletter, and via the HP Support Assistant, an application pre-installed on most HP PC’s. This distribution by Hewlett Packard will reach millions of small business owners.

The stakes are high so we all must heed the Stop. Think. Connect. message of the national cybersecurity awareness campaign. With government and the private sector working together we can overcome our cybersecurity challenges and help ensure that U.S. small businesses become an even more powerful engine of economic growth and job creation.

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