Reaching $10 million in revenue is something to cheer about but it may also be time to start looking at your security risks. While cyber security is a concern for any business today, the risk grows exponentially once a business reaches the $10-million milestone, recent data from Ipsos and ESET, an internet security provider, shows.
The data shows one in four Canadian small- to mid-sized businesses with annual revenue of $10 million or more have been victims of a cyber-attack, compared with one in 10 companies with lower revenue. The reason they are a target is that they have the same attractive assets as enterprise-level organizations but often have a lower level of protection and less sophisticated security solutions in place, said Iva Peric-Lightfoot, country manager for ESET Canada.
The data also shows that one in five Canadian SMBs who have been a victim of a cyber-attack have suffered a significant loss to their business because of their inability to service customers. Other findings include that the majority of Canadian SMBs would be unable to function for more than a few days without access to their data, with 65 per cent only able to function for a few hours or days, and 15 per cent saying they would have to cease functioning immediately.
Not protecting information can cost your business
Information security breaches are one of the most costly business risks for small to mid-sized businesss, a recent survey found. Yet, as the 2016 Shred-it Security Tracker Survey by Ipsos notes, 45 per cent of SMBs believe their business wouldn‚Äôt be affected by a data breach.
The Ponemon 2016 Cost of a Data Breach study revealed that the average cost per lost or stolen record is about $278, which can be devastating to a smaller business without the resources to absorb the financial losses.
We often think of data loss in terms of cyber risk. But there are also day-to-day practices in handling documents and devices that can be equally risky. Sometimes managing risk boils down to common sense practices.
Here are three data protection strategies Shred-it identified to help SMBs embed best practices throughout the workplace.
- Implement a clean desk and a ‚Äúshred-it-all‚ÄĚ policy. Encourage employees to clear their desks and lock up documents before they leave at the end of the day or when they are away for an extended time. A shred-it-all policy requires that all paper documents be shredded and recycled.
- Secure information on the move. More than half of Canadian SMBs have at least a portion of employees who work off-site, many of which use their own device, the 2016 Security Tracker survey found. Ensure the right information and security protocols are in place to protect customer and business data. Establish an off-site work policy that requests all mobile devices and laptops be encrypted. Also, remind employees about the risk of leaving hardware or materials in public places.
- Dispose of media properly. Even if you erase, reformat, or wipe your hard drives, customer and company information may still be at risk. The best way to dispose of information from a device is to remove and safely destroy the hard drive.
Shred-it‚Äôs 12 Simple Information Security Office Reminders is available at: shredit.com/en-ca/resource-centre/posters/office-information-security-reminders
International expansion plans
Canadian businesses love to talk about their domestic successes, but they‚Äôre not so forthcoming when it comes to international expansion, a recent survey by Leger for UPS Canada found. The Small Business Challenges results show only 43 per cent of smaller companies are doing business outside of Canada and the U.S.
That‚Äôs despite the fact 57 per cent of business owners feel they will benefit from a low Canadian dollar; and 75 per cent recognize that the Canadian Free Trade Agreement creates opportunities in foreign markets by reducing trade barriers.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs encouraging to see Canadian SMBs are thriving domestically. However, it‚Äôs important for them to recognize that continued growth relies heavily on expansion, and international exports are key contributors to success,‚ÄĚ said Paul Gaspar, director of small business, UPS Canada in a statement.
On the plus side, 25 per cent of executives from SMBs surveyed say they plan to expand internationally in the next five years: 61 per cent are hoping to do business in Europe; and another 42 per cent are looking to South and Central America.
Almost 95 per cent of those surveyed said a supply chain strategy will be key to assisting expansion into global markets. However, of the 39 per cent that do not have a supply chain strategy in place, almost half said their business isn‚Äôt large enough to have one; and 9 per cent were unsure of how to create one. Of the 52 per cent of respondents that have a supply chain strategy, 42 per cent said they partner with a third party.
CIJA points to Israel as a model of innovation
In a recent submission to the Government of Canada‚Äôs call to provide input and ideas for Canada‚Äôs Innovation Agenda, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) encourages Canada to look to Israel as a model of innovation.
In the response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of CIJA stated: ‚ÄúKnown as the ‚ÄėStartup Nation,‚Äô Israel is a model for any country looking to grow its economy through innovation, entrepreneurship, and higher education. ‚Ä¶ we encourage Canadian policymakers to look to Israel for best practices and bilateral innovation partnerships ‚ÄĒ both of which will be crucial in creating high-value Canadian jobs.‚ÄĚ
He went on to say, ‚ÄúIsrael‚Äôs track-record parallels the innovation priorities laid out for Canada by Minister Bains in June. Israel, for example, has achieved enormous success in integrating minorities into its innovation sector. In addition to the economic benefits, Israel has proven a model for how innovation can strengthen diversity and cultural understanding ‚ÄĒ a value shared by Canadians.¬†This is just one example of how, by looking to Israel, our country‚Äôs entrepreneurs and innovators will ensure Canada is on the cutting edge of the new economy.‚ÄĚ
First published at http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/small-business-digest/cyber-security-risks-increase-exponentially-at-10-million-milestone-survey