Joshua Lawton-Belous is the Director of Project Management at the Global Cyber Alliance and contributes today’s guest post. He is a serial entrepreneur and investor and works with startups in San Antonio and across the state of Texas.
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector nonprofit organization founded by a partnership of law enforcement and research organizations to combat systemic cyber risk with solutions. GCA has debuted an online Cybersecurity Toolkit resource that includes a wealth of free and effective tools businesses can start using immediately to reduce cyber risk.
Building a business is hard enough. From investors to employees to generating revenue, a founder is juggling a lot of balls in the air to create a show that no one will ever forget. But one thing that can bring the show to an immediate halt is a cyberattack. This is the last thing on the minds of many founders when building a business.
Cybersecurity should be a top priority as 58 percent of all cyber-attacks are against small businesses. Further, 44 percent of small businesses in the U.S. suffered two to four cyberattacks. The average cost incurred by a business from a successful cyberattack was $34,604.
If your company is like many small businesses, you do not have the financial or human resources to mitigate cyberattacks. Founders often lack human and financial resources and are willing to risk the substantial negative impacts that come with a successful cyberattack.
From the prohibitively high cost to unlock your systems due to ransomware to a significant impairment to your business (just look at what happened to Zoho because of phishing) to the stealing of your intellectual property, mitigating cyberattacks must be a business imperative.
So what are you as a business owner or founder to do? Putting your head in the sand and hoping that you will not be attacked is neither responsible nor feasible. Paying cybersecurity professionals will seriously reduce your run rate and cash holdings. Using cybersecurity checklists can be confusing and leaves you searching for tools you can implement yourself.
This is where the Global Cyber Alliance comes in. As a nonprofit founded to mitigate cyber risks, we believe in offering free tools that can be used rather than publish guidance founders can read.
We released a cybersecurity toolkit of free resources you can use for your business to defend against cyber-attacks. There’s no confusing technical language, and in each section of the toolkit, there are short videos to help you understand why an individual security component is useful. And for all of us consumer privacy advocates, GCA does not sell information on the toolkit’s users.
The toolkit helps small to medium-sized businesses address the Center for Internet Security Controls (CIS Controls) which help business owners significantly reduce the cyber risks they face every day. The CIS Controls are a recommended set of actions, built and continuously updated using current threat information and expert guidance, for preventing or reducing the most common attacks in today’s cyber threat landscape. Just addressing the first five CIS Controls can reduce your risk of cyberattack by 85 percent.
Adding one more thing to your already full plate is difficult to digest. Unless you’re a cybersecurity startup, cybercrime probably doesn’t even take up a portion of your mindshare. However protecting yourself against cyber attacks is like protecting yourself in a car crash; you never start driving the car thinking that you are going to crash, but you still buckle your seatbelt in case you do. So buckle up. A successful cyber attack can be deadly to your business.