A non-profit organization called Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) has vowed to improve one of the weakest links in cybersecurity by helping out small businesses. GCA has released a new toolkit containing free cybersecurity tools. Accompanying the toolkit are instructions on how to install each tool and a description of why each one is important.
The toolkit was released in collaboration with Mastercard. GCA CEO Philip Reitinger said, “Our focus is on producing a dynamic clearinghouse of operational tools that help small and medium businesses address risk and improve their cybersecurity posture, leveraging the deep expertise of our network of global partners, such as Mastercard, and the experiences of actual GCA toolkit users.”
Some of the things included in the kit are tools that create and maintain strong passwords, use multi-factor authentication, perform data backups, and prevent phishing and viruses. Some of these tools come from notable vendors like Microsoft and Google.
GCA was established in 2015 and is currently supported by another non-profit called Center for Internet Security. GCA previously created a tool that alerts internet users about malicious websites. It also sponsored a program aimed at helping companies protect their email domains from phishing.
Small businesses are common targets for cybercriminals. A survey by Hiscox found that 47% of small businesses experienced at least one attack in 2017, while 44% admitted to encountering two to four attacks. Some of the attacks included ransomware, phishing, and drive-by attacks, which infect websites and subsequently the computers that visit them.
Hiscox also revealed that an alarming, 7 out of 10 businesses aren’t prepared to respond to cyber-attacks even though they are aware of how costly the consequences can be. Some companies tend to place cybersecurity further down their list of priorities as they focus on developing products or services and working with clients.
Meanwhile, other businesses simply cannot afford cybersecurity. Maryville University explains that cybersecurity workers can command an annual salary which is $6,500 above other IT professionals’ pay grades. However, companies should realize that there is merit in investing in cybersecurity and now that GCA is offering a free toolkit, companies can learn about its importance through this valuable intro package. Businesses can focus on training their employees to be more equipped in handling cyber threats.
The US has yet to come up with a federal law on data privacy. In the meantime, Varonis CEO Yaki Faitelson wrote that the private sector has to deal with 50 separate state data breach laws. Anything medical or financial in nature would also have to adhere to HIPAA and Gramm-Leach-Bliley respectively. There’s even a separate data protection law for children and another law that covers student records.
As you can see, data protection rules in the US are chaotic and data privacy bills have been bouncing around Congress halls for years. The progress may be slow in terms of finalizing a federal rule but great efforts are being made at the state level. For instance, the state of California passed a data privacy law that will give users the right to access and delete their personal data. They can also decide whether to reveal information to third parties or not.
Hackers are a serious threat and should not be taken lightly by any business. Data Driven Investor even points out that cyberwarfare is the greatest threat to the US, more so than terrorism. Thanks to the efforts of the GCA, small businesses can now be better equipped to handle cybersecurity threats.