When are small businesses too small for data breach? Never

September 11, 2012 by ofonseca

Many small business owners believe that their companies are too small to be victims of data breach. When in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the latest Verizon data breach study “Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report” found that nearly 75 percent of the data breaches analyzed last year involved businesses with less than 100 employees.

Disturbing Data Breach Trend

And, these findings seem to represent a trend. Verizon, which conducts its data breach study annually, found that large-scale data breaches dropped dramatically in 2011, while small and medium company data breaches skyrocketed. Ditto for the year earlier, when Verizon found that 63 percent of the data breaches investigated were at small businesses.

So what’s up? Why are cyber criminals targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs) for data breach and identity theft?

The most likely reason is because it’s easier. SMBs, just like their larger counterparts, may digitally store information like credit card transactions and employee, patient or customer profiles. But unlike large companies, SMBs may not have the time, financial resources or technical expertise to protect their data. Or perhaps, they don’t realize that preventing a data breach may not be as difficult as it sounds.

Data Breach Prevention Tips for SMBs

The Hartford www.hartforddatabreach.com offers the following tips for SMBs to try and prevent a data breach:

  • Lock and secure sensitive data
  • Restrict employee access to sensitive information
  • Shred or securely dispose of unnecessary documents
  • Use password protection and data encryption for sensitive files
  • Have a privacy policy
  • Update systems and software on a regular basis
  • Use firewalls
  • Ensure that remote access is secure