Big or Small, We’re All Targets

Recent phone hackings overseas are making headlines across the world as Rupert Murdoch tries to defend his News Corp empire. The Pentagon lost 24,000 files in a huge cyber attack recently. Everybody knows the story with Sony by now. These are the stories that make the papers and headline the evening newscasts but there’s an untold story many people don’t hear.

Small businesses are actually at a much greater risk than their larger counterparts. While the Citi’s and the Sony’s may be a higher profile hack, it’s the small business owner who’s the easy target because they don’t have the millions of dollars to spend on security. Think about it. These companies have to process credit card payments and some even store personal customer information in their systems, just like their big brothers. However, they may not have an IT department or a CISO to help protect this data when it comes to rapidly changing IT security environment. On top of that, a small business owner is likely to have the mindset of “we’re just a small company, it won’t happen to us.” This kind of thinking makes them even more vulnerable. A 2010 survey by the National Retail Federation and First Data Corp. of small- and medium-size retailers in the U.S. found that 64% believed their businesses weren’t vulnerable to card data theft and only 49% had assessed their security safeguards.

The Wall Street Journal has a great article on the potential threats small business owners face in regards to cyber criminals. There’s a story in there about Mr. Angelastri, owner of a small company called City Newstand in Chicago, who is still paying off the effects of a security breach that cost him thousands of dollars. It’s the kind of story that will make any small business owner cringe.