As the number of data breaches involving smaller businesses continues to grow, a new survey by The Hartford finds that 85 percent of small business owners believe a data breach is unlikely, and many are not implementing simple security measures to help protect their customer or employee data.
The survey found that business owners varied in their adoption of eight data protection “best practices” to help reduce a business’s risk of a breach:
1. Lock and secure sensitive customer, patient or employee data – 48 percent
2. Restrict employee access to sensitive data – 79 percent
3. Shred and securely dispose of customer, patient or employee data – 53 percent
4. Use password protection and data encryption – 48 percent
6. Update systems and software on a regular basis – 47 percent
7. Use firewalls to control access and lock-out hackers – 48 percent
8. Ensure that remote access to their company’s network is secure – 41 percent
The Hartford survey also found that nearly two-thirds of business owners (61 percent) believe a data breach violates trust and would jeopardize their relationships with customers, patients and employees. More than a third (38 percent) say they have a more negative opinion of companies that have recently experienced a breach, based on the companies’ handling of the breach.
About a third of business owners (34 percent) say they would have difficulty complying with government notification requirements, and nearly half (47 percent) acknowledge it would be impossible for a small business to completely safeguard customer, patient or employee data.