High-profile cyber attacks and data breaches at Sony, Honda Canada and Target have raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber crime—yet surveys conducted by Symantec suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.
The majority of Canadian small businesses lack a formal Internet security policy for their employees and less than 50 percent have cyber security measures in place. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken belief, that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Symantec’s study found that 40 per cent of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
Large companies are devoting more resources towards data security, making small businesses increasingly attractive targets. The results can be devastating for small business owners.
According to Symantec, the average cost of a cyber attack on a small or medium-sized business is nearly $200,000. As a result, nearly 60 per cent of the small businesses victimized by a cyber attack permanently close their doors within six months. Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cyber security protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive.
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