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Cybersecurity is Everyone’s Business

Posted by Roberta Stempfley, Acting Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity and Communications

Small businesses are critical to the country’s economic growth, job creation and product innovation. As businesses engage in global e-commerce, they need to know how to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers against an array of information security risks. During the final week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its partners from the public and private sector are highlighting cybersecurity resources available to small and medium-sized businesses to help protect against the increasing cybersecurity risks of theft, fraud and abuse.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and each of us has a role to play in making it safer, more secure and resilient. While the vast majority of the nation’s cyber infrastructure resides in private hands, the risks to national and economic security associated with the compromise or failure of these assets means that their protection requires a concerted public-private partnership.  Working closely with its federal partners, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department is helping small and medium-sized businesses to develop cybersecurity plans to protect themselves, their employees and their customers.

A new survey, released by the National Cyber Security Alliance, found that 74 percent of small and medium businesses reported cyber attacks from 2009 to 2010, which cost an average of $190,000 per attack.  However, only 52 percent of surveyed businesses had a cybersecurity plan in place. Businesses can soon use the Small Biz Cyber Planner, recently unveiled by the FCC and DHS, to develop tailored cybersecurity plans to help protect against cyber crime. 

The federal government provides business owners and operators with access to valuable cyber risk assessment tools and programs to address cyber threats. In January 2010, DHS began working with the Department of Defense and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) to share actionable cybersecurity threat information as well as recommended mitigations – with 14 financial sector firms.

Find out more about how to protect your business and employees by visiting our National Cyber Security Awareness Month page. To learn more about how to get involved in Awareness Month, please visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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