Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame: 45% of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack But They Didn't Know It Happened

Think your small business is unlikely to fall victim to a cyber attack? New data from Nationwide suggests that mindset could be a mistake.

Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame

In fact, 45 percent of business owners have been victims of cyber attacks that they didn’t actually know were attacks, according to the Nationwide survey, which featured responses from more than 1,000 business owners. More specifically, just 13 percent of business owners in the study said they knew they had fallen victim to cyber attacks. But when business owners were given a list of different types of cyber attacks to choose from, that number jumped up to 58 percent.

What this suggests is that cyber attacks are much more prevalent than a lot of business owners think. You might assume that something like unpatched software or a phishing email isn’t a big deal. But it could lead to major consequences for your business.

Additionally, 76 percent of the business owners surveyed said they think cyber attacks are unlikely to affect their businesses. And 41 percent think that cyber attacks impact large businesses more often than small businesses. But data suggests that small businesses are almost as likely as their larger counterparts to fall victim to those issues.

“Nationwide’s annual survey reminds owners to focus on managing what they can control,” said Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property and Casualty. “The world is only getting more complicated, and the elements outside our control that have the potential to inflict great harm on businesses are increasing. An owner can’t control if a hacker will target their business in a cyberattack, nor can they control the weather, for example. What an owner can do is prepare — and that’s where we and our agent force can help. There is no time like the present to create a plan to prepare and protect your business for the future, and whether you’re a Nationwide customer or not, our Business Solutions Center serves as a great resource and starting point.”

There are things your business can do to try to prevent those attacks, or at least minimize the impact. One of the best things you can do is hire cybersecurity experts to focus solely on this area. However, just 37 percent of the businesses surveyed said they currently have at least one such employee. That same percentage of business owners also said they have a succession plan in place for their business, suggesting that both of those strategies are under-utilized by businesses.

“The key takeaway from our annual survey of business owners is that it’s critical they continue to prepare for growing threats against their businesses,” added Berven. “This is important not only for the viability of their businesses, but the overall health of the economy. Our survey uncovered alarming discrepancies in how business owners think versus how they behave. For cybersecurity best practices specifically, there exists a 33 percent gap in awareness versus action; a vast majority of business owners (83 percent) believe it’s important to establish security practices and policies, yet only 50 percent say they have established security practices to protect sensitive information.”

There’s no way to completely guarantee that your business won’t ever fall victim to a cyber attack. But simply assuming that it will never happen isn’t the answer. More than half of businesses have had to deal with some type of cybersecurity issue already. And those attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent among businesses of all sizes.

So explore the different options for preventing or minimizing the risk, depending on your business’s specific needs and resources. And remain aware of the risks and trends involved in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.

Image: Nationwide

This article, "45 Percent of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack Without Knowing It" was first published on Small Business Trends

Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame: 45% of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack But They Didn't Know It Happened

Think your small business is unlikely to fall victim to a cyber attack? New data from Nationwide suggests that mindset could be a mistake.

Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame

In fact, 45 percent of business owners have been victims of cyber attacks that they didn’t actually know were attacks, according to the Nationwide survey, which featured responses from more than 1,000 business owners. More specifically, just 13 percent of business owners in the study said they knew they had fallen victim to cyber attacks. But when business owners were given a list of different types of cyber attacks to choose from, that number jumped up to 58 percent.

What this suggests is that cyber attacks are much more prevalent than a lot of business owners think. You might assume that something like unpatched software or a phishing email isn’t a big deal. But it could lead to major consequences for your business.

Additionally, 76 percent of the business owners surveyed said they think cyber attacks are unlikely to affect their businesses. And 41 percent think that cyber attacks impact large businesses more often than small businesses. But data suggests that small businesses are almost as likely as their larger counterparts to fall victim to those issues.

“Nationwide’s annual survey reminds owners to focus on managing what they can control,” said Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property and Casualty. “The world is only getting more complicated, and the elements outside our control that have the potential to inflict great harm on businesses are increasing. An owner can’t control if a hacker will target their business in a cyberattack, nor can they control the weather, for example. What an owner can do is prepare — and that’s where we and our agent force can help. There is no time like the present to create a plan to prepare and protect your business for the future, and whether you’re a Nationwide customer or not, our Business Solutions Center serves as a great resource and starting point.”

There are things your business can do to try to prevent those attacks, or at least minimize the impact. One of the best things you can do is hire cybersecurity experts to focus solely on this area. However, just 37 percent of the businesses surveyed said they currently have at least one such employee. That same percentage of business owners also said they have a succession plan in place for their business, suggesting that both of those strategies are under-utilized by businesses.

“The key takeaway from our annual survey of business owners is that it’s critical they continue to prepare for growing threats against their businesses,” added Berven. “This is important not only for the viability of their businesses, but the overall health of the economy. Our survey uncovered alarming discrepancies in how business owners think versus how they behave. For cybersecurity best practices specifically, there exists a 33 percent gap in awareness versus action; a vast majority of business owners (83 percent) believe it’s important to establish security practices and policies, yet only 50 percent say they have established security practices to protect sensitive information.”

There’s no way to completely guarantee that your business won’t ever fall victim to a cyber attack. But simply assuming that it will never happen isn’t the answer. More than half of businesses have had to deal with some type of cybersecurity issue already. And those attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent among businesses of all sizes.

So explore the different options for preventing or minimizing the risk, depending on your business’s specific needs and resources. And remain aware of the risks and trends involved in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.

Image: Nationwide

This article, "45 Percent of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack Without Knowing It" was first published on Small Business Trends

Sponsored Post

See the Surprisingly Painless Way One Company Reduced Energy Costs

Is it possible for a company with a large plant and a lot of powerful equipment to lower its energy costs significantly while simultaneously upgrading its equipment?

This might seem like a lofty goal. But it’s one that B.L. Downey Company was able to achieve — thanks to its energy provider Constellation.

B.L. Downey is a company that coats parts and tools, everything from small screws all the way up to 50-foot light poles. Clients drop off their parts for coating at the company’s facility, and B.L. Downey finishes the job and then gives the items back to each client.

Originally, B.L. Downey signed up for natural gas service with Constellation more than 12 years ago. Over the years, Constellation has been providing gas and electricity services and helped them to gain control of their energy costs.

More specifically, B.L. Downey was looking for ways to improve the lighting at its plant, while also cutting costs and eliminating wasteful use of gas in its processes. The company had a plan in mind that involved upgrading its burners and implementing a control system to make their ovens more energy efficient. However, the firm simply didn’t have the capital to complete the project.

Then, in 2014, the Constellation team contacted B.L. Downey to see if they could help them figure out some opportunities for cutting waste and unnecessary energy consumption that could help the company’s bottom line.

To achieve the company’s goals, B.L. Downey took advantage of Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy solution (“EME”), which offers businesses ways to implement energy-efficient solutions at its facilities with no upfront costs. Instead, Constellation includes a monthly cost in the customer’s electric or gas bill. And with Constellation’s EME, the costs of the projects are often offset by the energy savings.

Kim Weaver, Senior Business Development Manager for Constellation’s EME Sales, said, “At B.L. Downey we were able to implement a $1 million project that saved them  about 10 percent in electricity — 360,000 dth a year. So that savings [helped] offset the cost of their project.”

Dave Wasz, President of B.L. Downey, added, “I’d say the biggest benefit of this program is we did not have to spend any of our own capital. That program was financed by Constellation’s EME, and we will be paying it back over the next several years through our electric bill. And that’s nice to have when you’re a small business or organization where money is tight.”

With the help of this program, B.L. Downey was able to upgrade all the lights at its facility and even add some new lights in the parking lot to improve safety for employees, which is important for a company that has team members coming and going 24 hours a day.

The project also helped B.L. Downey reduce its carbon footprint by 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 382 cars off the road annually.

Tom Moser, Vice President of Administration for B.L. Downey Company, said, “The relationship between Constellation and B.L. Downey has allowed us to save money and be more efficient and also be a good global partner by cutting all our emissions and all our waste.”

Essentially, the program allowed B.L. Downey to achieve its energy goals without having to worry about the upfront cost.

There are many efficient energy solutions available to businesses today. But sometimes the upfront cost of actually implementing those solutions  can be prohibitive for small businesses. This is true even if these solutions could help the businesses save money over the long run.

Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy program eliminated that roadblock for B.L. Downey, allowing the company to save money and become more efficient while actually upgrading its equipment and processes.

Image: B.L. Downey

This article, "See the Surprisingly Painless Way One Company Reduced Energy Costs" was first published on Small Business Trends

So far in 2017, more than 300 retailers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including RadioShack, Payless and The Limited. And other brands like General Mills are also struggling to remain relevant with consumers.

This isn’t exactly surprising. The retail industry has been reeling for years as some brands have been unable to adapt to major competition from online stores like Amazon.  A recent study found that 74 percent of small business websites have no ecommerce element to allow customers to make purchases online.

But as General Mills’ problems demonstrates, business struggles in 2017 aren’t just about the competition between online and traditional retail. Some businesses have to consider other changing trends, like the increasing importance of healthy food items. Brands like Campbell’s Soup have already learned that failing to adapt to this trend can lead to falling profits.

Evolving Your Small Business

Overall, there’s no magic solution for keeping your small business relevant as the world and your customers change around you. Whether failure to adopt the latest technologies or to change your product to meet modern tastes is at fault, it doesn’t matter. The only option is for companies to continually monitor and evaluate trends. This allows them to make small adjustments over time to keep up with consumer preferences. Businesses that fail to do so can’t hope to survive for very long.

Radio Shack Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Spate of Struggling Brands Highlights the Need to Keep Evolving Your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Annie Bruce has created a small business selling a really unique type of item — unicorn horns. The Brooklyn mom first started selling her creations on Etsy as a way to make money while still spending time with her daughter. But it soon blossomed into a full retail and ecommerce business, Brooklyn Owl, selling unicorn horns and other unicorn themed products for kids.

Small Business Startup Tips

But Bruce’s story isn’t just about unicorns. It also provides some important lessons that other small business startups can learn from. Here are five key takeaways.

Draw Inspiration from Everyday Life

Bruce got the inspiration for her product line from her daughter, a big fan of unicorns. When you observe the world around you and consider the needs and wants of specific people, you can be sure to create products that have a lot of potential.

Have More Than Money as a Goal

Since Bruce started the business with the goal of spending more time with family, she wasn’t solely focused on the bottom line. This allowed her the freedom to really be creative and grow only as it made sense.

Choose an Opportunity that Suits Your Talents

When identifying a new business opportunity, it makes sense for you to choose one that utilizes your existing talents. Bruce was able to sew and handcraft items. So this business aligned with her skills perfectly.

Be Open to Multiple Opportunities

There isn’t one right way to start a business. Bruce started hers on Etsy but was also open to starting a physical retail store. She still keeps the Etsy store open though, since different customers have different preferences.

Create a Unique Experience for Customers

A visit to Brooklyn Owl isn’t just about picking out a product and heading out the door. Bruce and her team have created a whole experience so that the visit is just as magical as the unicorn themed products.

Image: Brooklyn Owl

This article, "What Can This Brooklyn Mompreneur Teach You in Your Startup Journey?" was first published on Small Business Trends