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October 12, 2017 04:59 PM

Helping Small Businesses Fight Cyber Threats

Small business owners have to be aware of the cybersecurity risks that are out there.

On Thursday, the Better Business Bureau released a report highlighting just how much they have to know about cybersecurity and how to protect themselves. 

It's called The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America. The BBB surveyed about 1,100 small businesses about cybersecurity.

Here's one piece of data that rose to the top: half of the businesses reported that they would only remain profitable for a month if they lost critical information in a data breach. 

That's not the only finding. 

"Businesses are aware of some of the common cybersecurity pitfalls out there. They are unsure of what to do and the resources associated with doing it," Jessie Schmidt with the Better Business Bureau said. 

Sure, it's important for businesses to be aware of cyber threats including ransomware, phishing and point-of-sale malware. But Schmidt says businesses also need to know how to protect themselves from such threats. 

Her advice?

"You need to have a plan. Knowledge is power. If an organization has an organizational plan for something like this, then they're going to set themselves up for success," Schmidt said. 

Chelsea's Boutique owner Chelsea Tracy does business both in-store and online. She's taken steps to help protect sensitive information.

"We don't store any of our customer's information in-store or online so if anyone was to ever break into our system, there's nothing they're going to find except for some e-mail addresses," Tracy said. 

With stories of data breaches making their way into the headlines lately, she doesn't want to take any chances. 

"Even though we're a small business that doesn't mean it can't happen to us and so just protecting ourselves and have the right plan in place and make sure we're secure," Tracy said. 

On October 25, there will be a free event in Sioux Falls that will help businesses learn how to protect themselves and their customers. 

The event is called "Insecurity in a Digital World."

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