By U.S. Senator Mike Enzi
In May, it was reported that a Nigerian fraud ring targeted Wyoming’s unemployment system. There are no bounds to cybersecurity threats so we must all remain vigilant. There are resources to help recover from these attacks, but the best prevention starts with you. This topic is not meant to be scary. It’s better to start late than to never start – and it’s even better if you already practice smart security in your business. While you are getting ready for the summer and taking steps to reopen your shop, I encourage you to look into next steps for your small business’s security as well.
It’s important to keep a lock on your computer, just like you keep a lock on your front door. The first step is to look at what your business currently is and is not using for security. Training employees to look out for suspicious links and downloads and using strong passwords are a few simple examples. Using secure internet connections, backing up files and using secure payment processing are a few more. The Federal Communications Commission offers security tips and even offers a Cyberplanner curated just for small businesses to find a plan that best works for your unique needs.
There are many places to go for cyber security advice, and the Wyoming Small Business Development Network is there to help, too. They take their advice one step further as it is specifically meant for Wyoming small businesses – just like yours. They know the Wyoming cybersecurity scene. Don’t be afraid to reach out to one of their advisors and ask for guidance, at no cost.
COVID-19 has forced more people to work from home and business to move online, introducing new vulnerabilities for small businesses. A survey from the Small Business Administration found that 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. And over 40% of cyber-attacks unfortunately involve small businesses, according to a report from Verizon. We live in a world that revolves around the internet and having the proper security is important. But the reality is, many family-run ventures can’t afford large-scale security systems.
Cyber threats and attacks come in many different forms. It could be harmful software or viruses that have entered your computer. Phishing is an attack that usually comes through email or websites you visit and tries to collect your personal information. And of course, types of ransomware hold your information hostage until money is paid to a hacker. Some of these threats are recoverable, but it’s important to take steps now to ensure the worst never happens. While this may seem like an overwhelming topic, there are some easy steps and useful resources out there that can work for your business and your budget.