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Cyber threats facing Canadian small businesses in 2019

November 27, 2019
You can make your business more cyber secure – as long as you’re aware of the threats and you take action against them.

Cyber threats can be devastating to Canadian small businesses. Many don’t have the time, resources or awareness to be able to put together a comprehensive cyber security plan.

Unfortunately, that also makes them prime targets for cyber criminals hoping to steal information and money.

But here’s the good news: You can make your business more cyber secure – as long as you’re aware of the threats and you take action against them.

Follow this guide to get educated on the biggest cyber threats facing Canadian small businesses in 2019.

Lack of awareness

For many Canadian businesses, the biggest cyber threat is also the simplest one: A lack of awareness that they need to pay attention to cyber security.


Thankfully, the fix is pretty simple. By being aware that cyber threats are out there – and understanding the risks that they pose– Canadian businesses can take measures to start protecting themselves.


The most important part of this? Realizing that any business can fall victim to a cyber attack.


Cyber threats to your small business can impact your:

  • Budget: Cyber criminals are adept at using a variety of means to steal money from small businesses. Examples include: Stealing company banking information or credit card numbers.
  • Reputation: Many cyber threats pose a risk to the security of contact lists and other customer records, including contact information, sales history and passwords. That can create problems for businesses in meeting their privacy obligations and do significant damage to a business’s reputation.
  • Privacy: Small businesses have detailed records on owners and employees. Cyber criminals can target businesses to steal this information.

Lack of education for employees

It’s not enough for owners and managers to be informed about cyber threats. If employees aren’t informed about what they need to do to stay cyber safe, then they leave the whole business vulnerable.

The solution is to have a plan in place for educating your employees on cyber safety.

From protecting your social networks to watching out for phishers and protecting public laptops, there is a lot that employees need to know about keeping your business safe.

Ensure you are doing what you can to give your employees the right information on cyber safety.

Not having a cyber safety policy in place

The best way to ensure your business is putting its best foot forward on cyber security?

Adopting policies on cyber safety.

The clearer you can become with your employees about what’s expected of them, the less likely they’ll be a weak link that cyber criminals can exploit.

Get Cyber Safe recommends policies in three key areas:

  • A clear internet usage policy: Which websites are employees allowed to visit? How strong do their passwords need to be? Is there a web filtering system? These are the sorts of questions an internet usage policy can help answer.
  • Rules for email safety: Businesses are particularly vulnerable when it comes to email. Phishing and other scams can quickly bilk businesses out of money and information. By adopting rules for email safety, you make it more difficult for cyber criminals to target your employees through inbox scams.
  • A strong social media policy: Social media use presents a host of challenges for businesses. Employees could post confidential or proprietary information, while cyber criminals could hack in to corporate social media accounts and cause damage to its reputation.


Conclusion

Cyber security for small businesses is a shared responsibility. Get prepared. Implement policies and procedures that can help educate and prepare your employees – transforming them into one of your most important lines of cyber defence.

Source: Government of Canada - GetCyberSafe.gc.ca - Posted October 23, 2019

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