Small Business Cybersecurity Study Released

October 24, 2012

Last week, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec released a study on small business cybersecurity that revealed a stark contrast between the perceptions and practices of small businesses, and the need for improving online safety policies and procedures. Several key findings from the study include:

  • Seventy-one percent of small businesses say their business is somewhat or very dependent on the Internet for day-to-day operations;
  • A majority of small-business owners (55 percent) say that the loss of Internet access for 48 straight hours during a regular business week would be disruptive to their business – two-fifths (38 percent) of which say it would be extremely disruptive; yet
  • Fifty-nine percent of small-business owners say they do not have a contingency plan outlining procedures for responding and reporting a data breach loss such as: loss of customer or employee information; loss of credit or debit card information; or loss of intellectual property.

According to a recent study by Symantec, in 2011 18 percent of all cyber-attacks targeted small businesses. Today, that number has increased to 36 percent. Over the past several months, a number of articles have been written about the significant increase in cyber-attacks on small businesses. One article from the New York Times also highlighted the lack of protections afforded to small-business bank accounts. Under federal law, small-business accounts to not receive the same safeguards as consumer accounts, even though a majority of small businesses are sole proprietorships.

The current lack of critical infrastructure protections for our nation’s digital networks (including our financial, communications, and electric grids) coupled by the dramatic increase in cyber-attacks on small businesses and the inadequate protections afforded to small businesses under current federal law, makes this an important issue for America’s small business community and one that NSBA will continue to closely monitor.

For updates or additional information on small business cybersecurity issues, please follow us at @NSBAAdvocate or follow NCSA at @StaySafeOnline.