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Do you feel your business is safe from a cyber attack? Do you think that you are too small to be the target of cyber hackers? Do you know what data you possess that can be stolen or compromised, or through what device hackers have the ability to access that data?

Many small business owners are unaware how vulnerable they are to a cyber attack. Often smaller companies believe that they are just too inconsequential to be a target, or they’re under the assumption they don’t have anything of value that cyber criminals would desire. Sadly these misconceptions, mainly a simple lack of cybersecurity education, result in many companies going under after only one attack.

In March 2013, Congressman Chris Collins, of New York held a hearing of the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology which stated 60% of small businesses fail after a cyber attack. Collins also shared that 77% of small companies feel they are safe or cloaked from an attack due to their limited amount of employees, when in truth companies with fewer employees are actually easier targets, very lucrative, and often don’t fight back like larger corporations. In 2012, Verizon reported that out of the 621 confirmed data breaches, half of them were on companies with less than a 1,000 employees. Another report by the cybersecurity firm Symantec (SYMC) confirmed Verizon’s statistics and added that attacks on companies with less than 250 employees has increased from 18% to 31% in one year.

Hackers utilize small companies as stepping-stones to bigger companies – often because the company is a supplier or partner with the larger company. This type of attack provides a backdoor into a major corporation’s network, yielding useful data that ultimately can enable them to orchestrate more devastating attacks. Small companies offer the path of least resistance, not equipped with IT expertise to set up safe cyber business practices nor do they have the most up to date software and hardware to protect them. Hackers can easily exploit both these weaknesses. Once in the network, hackers can steal payroll, supplier and customer credit cards, employee personal data and unique intellectual property.

Why The National Cybersecurity Society you ask? The financial loss can be too great for the average business to survive. Dan Shapero and founder of IT company ClikCloud, who also testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology stated that the average cost of a data breach is $6.75 million total and $214 per compromised customer record. However these are only remediation costs, not including the additional reputation damage, lawsuits and loss of business that will occur. The NCSS was created to help educate and inform small businesses (employees and owners), so they can properly protect themselves from cyber criminals. We are a community of technologists; security professionals, educators and vendors who are passionate about ensuring each American’s ability to conduct business on-line safely and securely.

We are a non-profit organization, utilizing donations from corporations, foundations and philanthropists to fund the tools and educational materials necessary to provide small businesses what they need to conduct businesses online safely and securely. We will help the small businesses understand their risk and give them the insights needed to improve their business practices, and IT infrastructure. We are committed to the small business community and recognize that these entrepreneurs are spirit that fuels the US economy.