One of the largest problems facing successful small businesses today isn’t the economy. It’s cyber security. While the hackers and cyber criminals have become incredibly advanced in their tactics, one of the reasons they’ve been so successful is because many small businesses fail to see themselves as a target. They figure these crimes are only perpetrated against big companies with deep wallets and large databases like Target, Yahoo and Home Depot.
That is simply not the case.
Many cyber criminals have turned to victimizing small business because they are low-hanging fruit. These operations don’t bother with advanced cyber security tactics or even the minimum like ensuring everyone with access to their network has installed the latest software. Something which seems like an annoyance is actually one of the easiest safeguards against cyber crime. And yet many of us leave ourselves unprotected because we simply don’t feel like being inconvenienced for a few minutes.
The Chamber’s Role in Protecting Small Business
Honestly, I don’t like writing about cyber crime. It takes me out of my knowledge zone but it’s something that keeps coming up again and again at a cost of billions. Cyber crime cost the global economy $450 billion in 2016 alone. And today’s article on Small Business Trend’s website explains just how sophisticated these data predators are becoming. Read it. It’s alarming. “The prince in Nigeria” who needs money wired to him to gain his fortune is now masquerading as an email sender you know and have conversed with.
So what is the chamber’s role in all this?
Let’s remove the technology aspect of it because it makes many people nervous to talk about tech. Unless you’re in the business, it’s difficult to feel secure in discussing something that’s always changing. But let’s look at it another way. If you knew there was a plague, tax code, or challenge that could put your community’s businesses out of business, you’d call their attention to it, wouldn’t you?
If your community has businesses with any form of computer operations or data, or they sell things online, they’re vulnerable today. The only businesses that are completely protected are those using paper and pencil and accepting cash only. Everyone else needs to know what to look out for.
Ways Your Chamber Can Help
The most obvious way is through education. Arrange a session for beginners to explain the dangers out there and go through the statistics with them. Most people simply don’t realize they are at risk.
Contact your cyber security professionals in town to help with a program, possibly a chamber discounted package for business, to make it easy on your members.
Create social media content with a cyber security tip that people can implement on their own. For instance, “Is all of your software up-to-date? If not, download or run those patches now.”
The chamber is a resource for business. Sadly, businesses today need help with cyber security and your chamber is in a good position to make those introductions.