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CYBERSECURITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: IS IT WORTH THE COST?

Provided by: - November 6, 2023

By PETE PACZKO

For the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce

Chances are, you’re reading this article on a device that has some sort of cybersecurity program installed or built in. While your Norton or McAfee software may do the trick for home computing, is that level of protection sufficient to protect your business network? According to many experts in the field, no it is not.

If you’re not prepared to invest in an enhanced level of protection for your small business, you may end up paying a lot more after an attack, as you attempt to restore both data and your professional reputation.

Think it couldn’t possibly happen to you? In the world we live in, every business deals with some form of customer data. If you are an online store, you probably have many customers’ personal and financial data on record. If you are a subscription service, you almost certainly keep customer credit cards on file. Even local coffee shops maintain customer data through email lists, customer surveys and more.

Your reputation is your future When people do business with you, they’re assuming that there is no personal risk involved for them. Not only does a data breach hurt the customer, but it will hurt you as well. Once your data has been compromised, how many customers are going to want to do business with a company they view as having mishandled their information? The short answer: not many.

How much is enough security? With the way cyber threats are constantly evolving, it’s important to make sure your protection is as up-to-date as possible. In a blog post on its website, VISTA InfoSec, a global information security consulting firm, justifies the cost of additional protection by comparing the price of a data breach.

“Even in scenarios where no actual money has been stolen, you will still probably be facing fines and fees. Then there comes the time cost. It can take many months to recover even after the cyberthreat has been identified. Cybersecurity can be expensive, yes, but like insurance, it’s an expense you have to accept to do business in the modern world.”

So clearly, the development and installation of a robust cybersecurity system can go a long way towards preventing and managing threats. It’s also the best way of keeping information – yours and your customer’s – safe.

Makes sense. What do I need to do?

Quite simply, give serious consideration to hiring a cybersecurity professional to help you with your online protection needs. There is literally no time like the present to evaluate your cybersecurity needs with the help of a knowledgeable professional. And help is not that far away. Each year, Sask Polytechnic offers a 41-week post-graduate program in cybersecurity. Students learn how to identify network and computer system vulnerabilities, conduct ethical hacks to determine system risk and design organizational cybersecurity plans.

Program graduates are employed across the province, developing and implementing plans that can help keep your business protected against unwanted and expensive intrusions.

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