IT Freedom Blog

FTC Small Business Cybersecurity Resources

by Jessica Baker on

In October of this year, as part of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month developed by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a bank of resources for small businesses solely focused on cyber security.

According to Rosario Mendez, an attorney in the consumer and business education division of the FTC, these resources were developed “out of discussions...with small business owners across the country about cyber security challenges.”

Who is the FTC?

Just in case you are unfamiliar, the FTC, or Federal Trade Commission, is an independent agency of the US government. Their mission is to “protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”

So these cybersecurity resources fall under the “education” part of their mission. Adequate cybersecurity policies are necessary for businesses and consumers, both of whom the FTC is tasked to protect.

The State of Cybersecurity and Small Business

Cybersecurity is no small issue for any sized company, but for small businesses the statistics on cybersecurity attacks are alarming.
Small Biz Trends reported in October of this year that:

  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses

  • 60% of these businesses go out of business within six months of the attack

  • 48 % of breaches are caused by malicious acts (with the rest being caused by system failure or human error, which is why it’s so important to train employees on the importance of cybersecurity)

Why did the FTC create these resources?

The blog post announcing the resources only mentions that they came about because of discussions on cybersecurity challenges, but how do small businesses really feel in regards to their cybersecurity preparedness?
In the same report from Small Biz Trends:

  • Only 14% of small businesses rate their ability to mitigate cybersecurity risks as highly effective

  • 75% do not have cybersecurity insurance

  • 16% only reviewed their cybersecurity policies AFTER being hit by an attack

And the most alarming statistic is that, while they are concerned, more than half of small businesses are not allocating any part of their budget towards risk mitigation and cybersecurity.

So what are the resources?

The new materials are co-branded with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Small Business Administration. They are designed to get right to the point and help you and your employees understand the importance of cybersecurity, how to implement these practices in your business, and how to deal with a breach, should it happen.

The resources include videos, fact sheets, and quizzes for the following topics:

  • Understanding the NIST cybersecurity framework  

  • Cybersecurity basics

  • Physical security

  • Ransomware

  • Phishing

  • Business email imposters

  • Tech support scams

  • Vendor security

  • Cyber insurance

  • Email authentication

  • Hiring a web host

  • Secure remote access

It’s the FTC’s goal that these resources will “make it easy for you to talk about cybersecurity with your employees, vendors and others involved in your business.”

It shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone that cybersecurity is important, so if you are a small business trying to figure out where to start, definitely check out these FTC resources, our full list of cybersecurity posts, and give us a call if you have questions or are ready to take the next step in securing your business.

 

For similar posts check out our master list of Cyber Security blogs.

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