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Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

Posted by Douglas A. Smith, Assistant Secretary for the Private Sector

Every day we are reminded of the importance of making the Internet safer and more secure. This is a shared responsibility, and each of us has a role to play. Emerging cyber threats require the engagement of the entire society—from the federal government and Fortune 500 Companies to the corner store. Cyberspace supports everything from the systems that keep the lights on to the networks that process credit card transactions. That’s why a safe and secure cyberspace is important to businesses of all sizes.

In support of Cyber Security Awareness Month, and in collaboration with the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Booker T. Washington Business, I recently visited Detroit to meet with local business owners and discuss how small businesses can protect themselves from cyber threats.

Assistant Secretary Smith (center) with William R. Ross, President Booker T. Washington Business Association and Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber
Many ask how companies with limited resources can combat cyber crime. The Department of Homeland Security has released a number of reports and recommendations for businesses that include guidelines and frameworks for securing critical networks. While working toward greater cyber resilience can be challenging, there are also simple and free steps that every company should take to inform employees of safe online practices. These include:
  • Restrict access to personal information of employees and customers to prevent identity theft.
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited contact from individuals seeking internal organizational data or personal information. Verify a request’s authenticity by contacting the requesting entity or company directly.
  • Immediately report any suspect data or security breaches to your supervisor and/or authorities.
While no one is immune from cyber attacks, businesses of all sizes can and should take steps to protect themselves. To find more information on some of the simple steps businesses can take to guard themselves against cybercrimes and attacks, visit
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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