May 18, 2011 - 10:05 am
By Jamie Barnett | Chief, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau

In today’s connected economy, businesses must be certain that their operations are secure. The numbers from across the country show that, for too many small businesses, cybersecurity is overlooked. One in two don’t have security plans in place, while three of every four small and medium sized businesses report being affected by cyber attacks. We can never be too vigilant in preparing for cyber threats.

Yesterday, we took the first step in addressing the issue as Chairman Genachowski held the Cybersecurity Roundtable: Protecting Small Businesses. We hosted former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, panelists from top security companies such as Symantec, and even heard from a small business owner whose company fell victim to a cyber attack.

Maurice Jones, the Chief Operating Officer of Parkinson Construction, explained that not long ago his company became ensnared in a phishing attack. “We unknowingly clicked links in a valid-looking email,” he said. The thieves took hold of Parkinson’s bank account information and defrauded them of a huge sum of money before they could take hold of what had happened. Cyber risk is everywhere today. Understanding that risk and implementing a security plan for your employees is crucial.

There are a number of steps you can take immediately to protect your business. As Secretary Chertoff reminded the audience, “The focus is on managing cyber risk, not eliminating it.” Be proactive and adopt these ten tips to fit your business. They include training your employees in security practices, updating your antivirus software, backing up files, and requiring individual user accounts.

As the Chairman noted, “Having a plan is a competitive advantage. Not having one is a competitive disadvantage. We’ve given you the draft of a plan. Have a plan.” Visit our Cybersecurity for Small Business page for an overview, our tips and resources from leaders in government and industry.