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Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
February 01, 2022 Eugene Uhm, Business Development Specialist

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest issues facing small businesses. As we rely more and more on technology, small businesses are finding out that they are targets too. Statistics show 43% of all data breaches involved SMB’s and 61% of all SMB’s reported at least one cyber-attack in the previous year. 

With Cybersecurity being such a big issue, EXIM’s Chief Information Office, Howard Spira, joined me for an interview discussing cybersecurity for small businesses. 

What are the biggest threats right now for a small business? 

From Howard’s perspective, there are three main risks he keeps top of mind and that you should have a plan for: 

  1. A cyber event takes over your systems and holds you hostage or something else happens that destroys your computer.  
  2. Protecting proprietary information and the damage or reputational harm if you lose it. 
  3. Someone trying to use electronic interactions to steal money from you. 

An increasingly popular form of cyberattack is ransomware. Ransomware is when a bad actor gains access to your company computer system and encrypts your data holding you hostage until you pay a ransom. Howard notes that protecting your small business from ransomware, and many of these other threats, is usually about doing a couple simple things that avoid making you an easy target: 

“Protecting your email system (with two factor authentication), not clicking on links that you don’t understand, making sure that you are running a modern computer with anti-virus software is very effective. 98-99% of the successful ransomware attacks are associated with the failure to perform some basic (digital) hygiene. Most ransomware attacks are attacks of opportunity, kind of like leaving your car door unlocked” says Howard. 

Howard also highlights that having a strategy to back up your data is a key tool to protect your small business from cyber-attacks and many more mundane events. If your computer was stolen or destroyed in a fire or flood, do you have good back-up copy to recover from?   Having a back-up plan for your data is critical to managing all kinds of risk to your computer systems. 

It’s so important to have a back-up plan that Howard also recommends setting up a schedule (no less than annually) to test recovering your files from those backups. This is to ensure you can retrieve your critical files, to check you are backing up the right files, and to make sure that you can actually recover your data. 

By practicing simple digital hygiene, you can protect your small business from the common cybersecurity threats that are out there today. 

If you are interested in watching the full video interview, click below:

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.