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  • Member Post: Majority of Small Businesses are Unprepared for Data Breach

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    As a small business owner myself, I understand the daunting task of preparing your business for information and cybersecurity.  Several years ago, I too dreaded the very thought of what it would take to develop and execute a written information security program.  At first I felt my business was too small to be a target for criminals, but further research helped me pay attention to the dangers and consequences of ignoring the warnings. 
    What I’m about to share with you may be uninteresting, but consider it educational and an opportunity to start thinking about putting a program of your own in place.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re a one person operation or a large company with 10,000 employees.  As Entrepreneurs, we are all responsible for the businesses we build, the information we collect or the products and services we provide, right?  But as Smartpreneurs, we have an exceptional opportunity to leverage our businesses simply by demonstrating that we take information and cyber security seriously by proving that we care about our employees, customers, vendors and stakeholders.
    When you think about how small businesses account for 99.7% of our economy, collectively we wield a lot of power.  Sounds impressive, but it’s also the reason why hackers, fraudsters and thieves have made us their primary target. If you think you’re too small to be compromised, think again.  Criminals have shifted their attention to us because they know that we don’t have the fluid resources that large enterprises have.  We may be the heart of the American economy, but we are also our country’s own worst enemy.  Many small business owners are too trusting of others, too lax in business practices and too busy trying to generate revenue instead of paying attention to ever evolving threats and vulnerabilities. 
    With that said, you may be wondering how to go about planning for an information and cybersecurity program, aka, data breach preparedness plan.  If you are a solopreneur, you could start with a simple employee handbook and build from there.  It will teach you how to create critical policies—even if it’s just for you.  Reach out to me for a link to build one for free, and then run it by your legal counsel.  From there, you can incorporate other management directives including an information and cybersecurity program. 
    Soon your customers, vendors, and stakeholders will be asking you to demonstrate that you have security policies in place,  or they may ask  what your practices are for managing third party relationships.  They may even quiz you for the types and brand names of security software and other information security questions to see if you’re a risky business. You might even find yourself at a loss for words if you can’t demonstrate your incident response and recovery plan, should a stakeholder request it prior to drawing up a contract with you.
    As a Smartpreneur, you can be a leader in your industry.  Your stand and due diligence on information and cybersecurity can strengthen your business relationships, reduce vulnerabilities in your organization and mitigate unnecessary risks. 
    I leave you with this question.  Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?     
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