Small businesses help drive the U.S. economy. They are a key source of innovation and creativity, a bedrock part of communities, and a leading creator of new jobs. Unfortunately, they can also be tempting targets for cyber criminals. In fact, small businesses represent more than 90 percent of all the merchant data breach compromises reported to Visa.
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, I joined U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) at NASDAQ in New York to open the day’s trading. We came together yesterday to raise awareness about the security risks small businesses face and the solutions and resources available to help them.
Also as part of the day’s events, I joined the NCSA and security firm Symantec to discuss the results of a new small business security survey. Not surprisingly, the results indicated that many small businesses do not feel equipped to adequately protect themselves from cyber threats. This does not have to be the case.
While the theme of our events at NASDAQ was small business cyber security, it is an area of focus for Visa year-round. Visa has developed numerous resources including best practice guides, webinars and a website dedicated to consumer and small business security with simple, cost effective, easy-to-understand steps small business owners can take to greatly improve their security.
But we can’t reverse this trend alone. That’s why we also work in partnership with trusted organizations in government, the private sector and law enforcement to promote cyber education awareness. Yesterday’s event is just one example. And earlier this month, we collaborated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to release the “Internet Security Essentials for Business,” a free, practical guide for small and medium sized businesses on improving their cyber resilience.
Small business owners have an important role to play as well. Data security is fundamental to securing payments and maintaining customer trust. The best advice I can give to small businesses is: Be proactive. Don’t wait until you have had a breach or lost valuable data to take stock of your company’s data security practices. Make security a priority and start by taking common sense measures to make your cyber security as strong as the padlock you put on your store’s front door.
Additional resources for small businesses:
- Tips and Tools for Small Merchant Businesses: http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/data-security-tips-for-small-business.pdf
- Tips and Tools for E-Commerce Businesses: http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/data-security-ecommerce-small-merchant-tips.pdf
- Visa Global Registry of Service Providers: http://www.visa.com/splisting/
Posted by: Ellen Richey, Chief Enterprise Risk Officer on October 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm