Are you wondering how to protect your small business? In this blog post, we will answer all your questions and share how we can all work together.
As you may already know, October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This campaign is internationally recognized and was created to inform the public about the importance of cyber security. This month of blogs is revolved around the themes that the Government of Canada is focusing on. The themes are focused on helping Canadians to be more secure online, be informed and know steps to protect themselves, families, work, and devices.
The second theme that the Government of Canada has put together is how cyber threats affect you.
It’s important to stay cyber safe all year. Click here to read how you can do this.
Protecting your small business is the top of your mind.
If you’re like most small-to-medium sized businesses in Canada, the internet is a crucial tool to succeed in today’s digital world. Going online helps you reach new customers and be able to grow your business. Even if you don’t have a website or social media accounts, you more than likely depend on the internet for everyday business operations. This could include banking, payroll, ordering supplies, email, etc.
The more time spent online, the most risk you have for being impacted by cyber threats. Be prepared instead of disconnecting. By being prepared, you can minimize the risk of threats and impact of incidents that occur.
Being online requires being safe and secure. As a SMB, it’s easy to get into the mindset that the business is too small to get the attention of cyber criminals.
Honestly, cyber criminals are now choosing to target businesses that are smaller because these computers are vulnerable.
What are Cyber Criminals Looking For?
Threat actors are looking for high value or sensitive information.
- Customer records and contact info
- Banking and financial info
- Intellectual property
- Employee information and passwords
- Sales and contract info
- Emergency response plans
Cyber security is a shared responsibility. Depending on how a business is structured, there are probably other people involved – co-owners, managers, employees – who should be familiar with cyber security.
Cyber safety is a continuous cycle
Understand vulnerabilities and possible threats.
Limit access to sensitive information and systems.
Use anti-virus and anti-malware software and activity logs.
Train employees and have a response plan for incidents.
Backup information and consider cyber insurance.
And then you start the process all over again.
You don’t need to be an expert to be cyber safe. You certainly owe it to yourself, your business, and your customers to make cyber security a priority.
Working with other businesses, partners across the industry, and the government is a great way to make sure you are more cyber safe for the future.
Simple Steps to Run a Cyber Safe Business
- Educate employees on cyber security
- Keep OS and software up to date
- Use strong user authentication
- Limit admin privileges
- Backup and encrypt important data
- Secure portable media (ex, hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards)
- Install security software
- Learn the risks of cloud computing
- Secure wireless networks
- Set up firewalls and VPNs
- 74% of SMBs report being concerned or very concerned about cyber attacks
- 70% of small businesses are the target of data breaches
- 95% of small businesses are the target of credit card breaches
- 54% of small businesses are the target of email scams
- 69% of SMBs protect themselves by requiring passwords on all devices
- 60% of SMBs protect themselves by backing up information on all devices
- 37% of SMBs protect themselves by following strict protocols when someone leaves the organization
- 36% of SMBs protect themselves by using encryption software
Cyber threats can happen to any size of organization, including your business.
There are various tools and resources out there that can mitigate the increasing number of cyber-attacks targeted at SMBs.
So, how can we all work together?
Cyber defense is a team sport. The government, industries, academics, and civil society need to work together to strengthen the cyber security in Canada.
Cyber systems in Canada, those inside and outside of the government, hold valuable information that is critical to our health, economy, and our security. These systems are targeted by cyber criminals.
We all need to work together so we can strengthen our resilience against cyber threats.
Cyber threats target different groups, but impact everyone
- Confidential info
- Specialized equipment
- Essential services
- Intellectual property
- Productivity time
- IT infrastructure
- Client relationships
- Financial resources
- Personal info
- Personal devices
- Canadians’ opinions
Individuals can protect themselves and their organizations with a few steps
- Use strong passwords and keep them a secret
- Keep OS and security updated
- Secure your email and social media accounts
- Don’t respond to suspicious requests for info
- Store data securely and in places you trust
- 80% of Canadians are concerned or very concerned about their personal info being obtained and used for illegal; purposes
- 1 in 5 Canadian enterprises experienced a cyber security incident in 2017
- 32% of utilities
- 26% of manufacturers
- 13% of healthcare organizations
Let’s make it a goal to build a community where sharing is common and where we prioritize security of all systems over gaining a competitive edge.
- Informing individuals and organizations
Providing resources through Cyber Security Awareness Month and GetCyberSafe.ca
- Supporting Canadian innovation
Helping industries bring new cyber security solutions from laboratory to marketplace
- Creating strategic partnerships
Collaborative solutions and technology > Best practices > Advice and guidance > In confidence info sharing (ex, R&D, proactive disclosure, tools, techniques)
This is the last post of Cyber Security Awareness Month. We hope that you have learned more about how to protect your small business and how we can all work together. If you have any questions, use the section below.
Looking to make sure you are even more safe online? Download this free Security Awareness Kit.
Government of Canada. (2019). October 2019 Themes for Cyber Security Awareness Month. Retrieved October 25, 2019 from, https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/csam/thms-en.aspx
Government of Canada. (2019). Cyber Security Awareness Month How to protect your small business. Retrieved October 25, 2019 from, https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/nfgrphcs/csam-2019/wk4-en.aspx
Government of Canada. (2019). Cyber Security Awareness Month Working together to achieve cyber security, Retrieved October 25, 2019 from, https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/nfgrphcs/csam-2019/wk5-en.aspx