The Langdon Area Chamber of Commerce held a cyber security workshop for small businesses within the Langdon area. U.S. Small Business Administrations Senior Area Manager Eric Giltner conversed with those in attendance on the importance of small businesses protecting themselves from cyber threats.
By Melissa Anderson
“There are just so many different aspects of cyber security,” Giltner said.
Small business are the real target because, as a small business, they can be used as a back door to a larger business. Small business can be a vulnerable point of entry as a typical small business owner will not have as sophisticated set up of cyber security as the targeted larger business.
Small business owners face an assortment of challenges when tackling the monumental task of making their data and information safe- from a lack of awareness on the importance of the issue to a lack of support and cost of implementation of adequate protection.
“We don’t know what it’s going to cost to have adequate prevention. That’s one of the big questions, ‘well how much do I need to do?’ Well, I think, 90 percent of it is being aware and then 10 percent of it is knowing what your vulnerabilities are and getting professional help for it,” Giltner shared.
To avoid the dangers posed by a cyber attack Giltner offered the following advice.
• Redundant Security – Having two different anti-virus solutions protecting the information stored.
• Include employee personal devices.
• Arrange a rigorous update and scan schedule.
• Make cyber security a budget item.
“The biggest threat is uninformed employees. Careless employees,” Giltner said. “Cyber security should be the top concern of the CEO. She should be concerned that everybody who works for her company is concerned and up-to-date on cyber security. It should be everybody’s concern.”
Regularly training employees on the dangers that are lurking in cyber space is also highly recommended by Giltner. Regular staff meetings can be used as an opportunity to have cyber security training and making employees aware of the latest cyber security incidents.
“My feeling here is that the more we can talk about that with employees, the more awareness they are going to have, the more they’re going to know, ’hey maybe I shouldn’t click on this link’, ” Giltner said.
One measure of security for the aftermath of a cyber attack is to speak with the insurance company for the business. Finding out if there is protection for the business should an attack occur or if there are criteria that must be met to qualify are ways to protect the investment and future of the business.
Giltner strongly advises that small business owners create a plan of action should they become the victim of a cyber attack. Cavalier County Emergency Manager Karen Kempert is one such source for advice.
“Cyber security is just a small disaster part of all the other disasters that can happen. [Karen] is in a position to not write disaster preparedness plans but advise,” Giltner said.
Kempert, who was in attendance, shared a very useful site available to not only businesses but individuals as well. Ready.gov/business can assist business owners in preparing for a potential IT disaster. Contacting a cyber security and infrastructure security agency is another avenue for more in-depth assistance.
Another source for helping to create a response plan can be found at www.us-cert.gov/report.