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6 reasons to be optimistic about cybersecurity for small business

Businesses can stay alert to cyber threats while feeling reassured by broader trends in technology, talent, and other areas.

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4 min read |

I’m a chief information security officer, but I like to replace the word “officer” with “optimist” when thinking about how much progress we’ve made in understanding, resisting, and recovering from cyberattacks.

A timely dose of informed optimism may help reassure all of us. The volume of cyberattacks, regulations, defense measures, and just plain noise has increased in the last decade, leading many business owners to wonder whether optimism has any place in conversations about digital operations and persistent cyberthreats.

Watch Meg Anderson of Principal talk with Venus Quates, owner and CEO of LaunchTech, a firm that helps other small businesses bolster their cybersecurity.

Yes, it does, for at least the following six reasons. 

1. Security embedded in more technology

Software increasingly is embedded everywhere in our daily business lives—introducing new, unpredictable, and interlinked vulnerabilities. But more software firms are rising to this need—recognizing that greater security also helps make them more competitive. We expect to see data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and other critical cybersecurity features built into the core of more software. These safeguards will become more affordable and within reach of small businesses. And when there’s an incident, data recovery will be more seamless.

2. Greater collaboration between government and industry

We’re getting very good at sharing information and threat intelligence among business sectors, governments, and other peers. We now understand we have common enemies. This leads to streamlined public-private partnerships. Our government and industry partners are starting to align the patchwork of laws and regulations to flag cyberthreats and incidents more consistently—helping others to avoid becoming unwitting victims.  

3. Free cybersecurity resources for small businesses

Organizations such as the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) and government agencies like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offer free information, training, and tools specifically for small businesses. With just the investment of your time, you can take advantage of their training opportunities, including becoming cyber-certified. There are also technical resources, like scans and penetration tests, that can provide reassurance. Periodically, revisit what's offered as a proactive way to keep your business more cyber secure.

4. IT integrated into business operations

We’re learning to bring IT (information technology) into the heart of business operations. The financial impact of a significant cyber incident is a business risk, not a technology problem. We’ve learned cybersecurity is more effective and less expensive when we plan for it in the early stages of mergers and acquisitions, or when we onboard customers and receive their data or money. For business owners, cybersecurity isn’t an afterthought but a core business concern.

5. Business resources focused on cybersecurity

Businesses are getting better at pinpointing their top cybersecurity risks. They’re using precise data to focus limited business resources where it can make the most difference—like any solid business analysis. As a small business owner, you can access these finer details to make decisions based on evidence, understand your unique risks more fully and factually, and be more efficient in mitigating risks.  

6. A new generation of cyber talent on the rise

A wave of new, trained, reinforcements is on the way with talented cyber workers flooding the zone. Employment of information security analysts is expected to grow by 30% from 2020 to 2030, outpacing the average for all occupations. Higher education has responded to the cybersecurity talent gap, and students are graduating from related programs and majors at a faster pace. 

Of course, there’s always room for ongoing improvement in digital operations. But we have plenty of reasons to start feeling more optimistic about progress made toward cybersecurity for small businesses.

What’s next?

Help stay optimistic by keeping up your guard. Learn more about how to protect your business from cyberthreats with these six steps informed by the Cyber Readiness Institute (plus a white paper you can download).