Small Business Saturday – the Saturday immediately following Black Friday – is meant to encourage consumers to patronize small businesses across the country during a season that is make or break for many of them. Like many small businesses, you probably hope the day will be an opportunity to connect with new customers, reaffirm the loyalty of current ones, build your business and boost revenues.
But customers won’t be the only ones with their eyes on your enterprise this Small Business Saturday, November 30. Cyber crooks may be targeting you, too. Will you be ready if they do?
Cyber crime increases during the holiday shopping season, and small businesses are a favorite target of identity thieves, hackers and other cyber crooks. Whether they’re looking to clean out your bank account, fraudulently open a new line of credit using your company’s good name, or steal your customers’ personally identifiable information, cyber criminals are poised to take advantage of the holiday season to attack small businesses.
Many small to mid-sized businesses lack resources or expertise to manage cyber security. Cyber criminals know this. But while a larger corporation may have the resources to recover from a data breach or other cyber attack, 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a data breach will go out of business after six months.
It’s critical – and very achievable – for you to protect your small business during the holiday season, and all year long. Experian Data Breach Resolution’s Vice President, Michael Bruemmer, shares some budget-friendly ways small businesses can prevent and manage a data breach:
- Identify the area of greatest risk for your small business. What are cyber crooks most likely to want to steal from you? If you’re a retailer, that might be credit card numbers of customers. If you’re a service provider that needs to keep a high amount of funds liquid in order to keep products stocked, they may target your bank account.
- Get educated about cybersecurity. And make sure your employees also understand the problem. Implement security precautions and teach employees how to follow them.
- Have a plan. Preventing a breach is only part of your strategy. You also need to have a plan in place that addresses how you will handle a breach if (when) one occurs. Unsure of how to start? Experian’s free Data Breach Response Guide can help.
- Consider buying cyber insurance. Not only can cybersecurity insurance help you improve your level of precautions, it can help facilitate your recovery if something does happen.
It would be great if the only thing small businesses had to worry about during the holidays was pleasing customers and making money. But with cyber crooks increasingly targeting small businesses, you need to pay attention to cybersecurity more than ever.
 “Protecting Small Businesses Against Emerging and Complex Cyber-Attacks,” House Committee on Small Business, March 21, 2013.