By Amy Kuhlers, Program Manager and Network Builder, IASourcelink
Cyber-attacks on small and medium-sized businesses are on the rise. The reason? Criminals assume that smaller companies are less aware of the risks and have less resources at hand to protect their data. This assumption has merit, but it doesn’t need to. There are resources available to help businesses get the knowledge they need to stay safe, and a new tool available through America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC) is a good place to start learning.
The Iowa SBDC recently introduced Small Business, Big Threat, an online cyber security assessment geared specifically to help small businesses stay safe. The program, found at www.iowacyber.com, tests a business owner’s knowledge of risks associated with cyber-crimes. The assessment takes participants through 27 different scenarios covering topics such as mobile security, password protection, social media access, and data breaches, providing detailed insight into each situation. By looking through the eyes of three personas (a coffee shop owner, plumber, and hardware manufacturer), participants can see how an event like a
data breach affects small business owners of different types and sizes. The assessment also provides the view from a hacker’s perspective to illustrate how easy it can be for a business to be attacked. White papers on cyber security best practices, and links to current articles covering a variety of cyber security topics can also be found on the website.
In addition to the IowaCyber website, the Iowa SBDC has published a workbook for small businesses to learn more about cyber security, and helps a business owner design a plan for where to start on cyber security initiatives. Copies of the workbook are free and available for download at www.iowasbdc.org/cyber-security.
For any business, the question is no longer “What happens if we are the victim of a cyber-attack?”, it’s WHEN. This is especially true for small businesses with far less resources at hand to respond after an attack has happened. Knowledge is power. It’s important business owners utilize resources such as the SBDC’s Small Business, Big Threat website to learn how to keep their business assets safe before a cyber crisis occurs.