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Small Business Not Testing IT Security

data-backup-11093002 Credit: Dreamstime.com

Despite seeing a number of large corporations succumb to hackers this year, new research suggests small business owners are not taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure they don't fall victim to similar cybercrimes.

A recent survey of 1,200 independent business owners showed nearly 75 percent have never had an outside party actually test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker-proof.

Barry Sloane, president and CEO of The Small Business Authority, a for-profit business services provider that provides data backup services, said recent breaches of security at Citibank, Sony and the Pentagon should show small business owners just how vulnerable they might be. He said taking the extra step of verifying security with an outside party is necessary to ensuring owners aren't vulnerable to having confidential information stolen from their site.

"It is truly the only way to see if there is a problem or not," Sloane told ITTechNewsDaily.

With websites and networks constantly being updated and reconfigured, Sloane said checking the network's vulnerability just once isn't enough.

"They should be consistently checking it," he said.

The survey did reveal that small business owners are putting safeguards in place should they be unable to return to their business or office following a natural disaster .

More than 60 percent of the owners surveyed said their data and business information is backed up in more than one location. 

Sloane, however, believes those numbers are misleading, with only a quarter of those having done so in a proper manner (for example, having their data backed up daily to a secure off-site facility).

Unfortunately for business owners, the survey shows there’s a good chance they’ll need that safeguard.

Thirty-five percent of small business owners report being denied access to their business because of a snowstorm, hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster.

Based on those statistics, Sloane said it’s clear small business owners need to be prepared for threats of all kinds and have plans in place for being able to run their business from a new location. He said small businesses must focus on making sure their IT data is secure and backed up at all times.

"Business owners should aspire to having a higher level of sophistication," Sloane said.
The research was based on September's Small Business Authority Market Sentiment Survey, a monthly look into the concerns of independent business owners.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.