Cyber threat to small business is real and continuing to grow.  Everyday each of us hear of the multiple incidents of cyber attacks hitting businesses around the country. Whether the attacks are criminal in nature, initiated through state actors, or from a lone hacker sitting at their computer, they each can have a devastating effect on a small business. 

Creating a cyber security culture in your business involves more than providing tools like firewalls and virus protection software. Experts uniformly agree that educating employees about the threats of data breaches and cyber theft is a critical step in protecting your company's invaluable data. 

But while most small businesses understand the need for a comprehensive data security program, many still believe hackers are only interested in going after big companies, and therefore may not take all the precautions that they should. In fact, statistics compiled by the National Cyber Security Alliance paint a disturbing portrait of small business vulnerability:

  • Almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack. 

  • More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses.

  • More than 75 percent of employees leave their computers unsecured.

  • As much as 60 percent of small and medium-sized businesses that experience a data breach go out of business after six months.


A breach or attack can result in a significant loss of income, particularly if the small business involved lacks cyber liability insurance. If news of the breach goes public, the damage to the business's brand may be insurmountable.

Leaving your business data exposed to cyber attacks is simply too great a risk to ignore. The best defensive strategy is creating a cyber security culture in the workplace that greatly tips the odds of success in your favor.

Dr. Rosa Arriaga, Senior Research Scientist Georgia Tech University, College of Computing

Dr. Arriaga is a developmental psychologist in the School of Interactive Computing. Her emphasis is on using psychological theories and methods to address fundamental topics of human computer interaction. Her current research interest is in the area of chronic care management. Recently she has addressed some of the following questions: how software solutions can improve asthma management in children, how crowd sourcing can aid individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their caregiver, and how lab-based technologies can be scaled and deployed to broaden their impact. She is interested in test the hypothesis that systems designed with principles of human development and cognition can be effective across different clinical populations simply by altering the content (e.g., from asthma information to diabetes information).

She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University. She was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist in Interactive Computing and has been the Director of Pediatric Research at the Health Systems Institute since 2009. In this role, she has forged important relationships with both private and public community partners in the greater Atlanta metro area.


Dr. Michael C. Owens Senior Director Cyber Security Ernst & Young

Dr. Michael Owens is a senior-level global business leader, entrepreneur, and information technology executive with over 20 years of experience within military, corporate and government organizations. Michael currently leads the Global Cyber Program for Ernst and Young within the Forensics, Investigations & Dispute service. Follow on Twitter @MichaelOwensGA

Julie Talbot-Hubbard, SVP, Head of Information Security Operations Sun Trust

Julie is an experienced Chief Information Security Officer and Technology executive with extensive experience leading the transformation and management of information technology and security organizations across diverse industry verticals. Proven ability to establish and align on vision, organize and drive execution in global organizations using both direct and influential leadership.

Reinier Moquete, CEO Advoqt Technology Group

Reinier Moquete is CEO at Advoqt Technology Group, a Systems Integrator & Managed Services firm specialized on Hybrid Cloud Computing & Security. Advoqt's "Proven Framework for Cloud Adoption & Management" helps medium sized businesses reduce risk and accelerate growth via platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Google, as well as strong Identity Management and Access Control systems to keep data safe. Follow @ReinierMoquete

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