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Majority of small businesses lack cyber security plans, could leave consumer information vulnerable

Average cost for data breaches is $36,000

DENVER – A new survey released by a small business watchdog website shows nearly 80 percent of small businesses don’t have a cyber security attack plan in place.

“They’re worrying about sales, marketing, operations. The cyber security side and making sure customer data and internal systems are protected is generally an afterthought,” cyber security consultant David Schohl said.

It’s not just retailers. Schohl said any business that takes a credit card could be vulnerable, making your personal information a target for hackers and identity thieves.

“Small businesses tend to be attacked more often because cyber attackers tend to look at them as more vulnerable,” he added.

Banking fraud laws normally favor the consumer, and you can get refunded for bad charges. But that comes with a major headache for you and a financial hit for the business

“The average cost is $36,000 for those data breaches,” Jennifer Kurtz of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (DMSBDC) said.

The DMSBDC helps small businesses with their business plans, which includes asking questions about cyber security to protect themselves and their customers.

“Do they know where their information is, and who has access to it, and how they’re protecting it?” asked Jennifer.

Experts said there is still a lot of work to be done by businesses, and if you’re worried about your information when out shopping on “Small Business Saturday” just ask the store owner about their plan.

Data breaches at small businesses can include hacks, or unsecured information on smartphones or given out to employees.

That survey also found that more than half of all smart businesses were victims of some sort of cyber attack.

And if you see any incorrect charges on your credit card bill, contact your bank and the business immediately.

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