Small Businesses Need to Be Wary of Cyber Attacks (Opinion)

Charleston Gazette-Mail

By Moore Capito

Small-business owners have many roles to fill–from managing payrolls and marketing to customer service. But one area many small-business owners fail to plan for is their company’s cybersecurity.

According to a recent Small Business Administration survey, 88% of small-business owners feel their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack. Experts warn that small businesses, including those in West Virginia, are under constant attack by cybercriminals, be it from local, national or global actors.

We don’t have to dig deep for a local example of this threat. In 2017 Princeton Community Hospital, in Mercer County, was a victim of the Petya attack, costing the health system $27 million.

Yet, many businesses can’t afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity or simply don’t know where to begin.

As a delegate, I am focused on supporting West Virginia small businesses through state and federal grants and providing critical resources and training to entrepreneurs across the state. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and provide the greatest opportunity for job growth in our state. We need to do everything we can to encourage and support them. West Virginians are hard-working, dedicated people–they just need the right tools to succeed.

This is where programs like the one hosted by the National Cybersecurity Center come in. The National Cybersecurity Center is a nonprofit organization established to promote cyber innovation and awareness, and offers training for the public and private sector alike. I have the privilege of taking part in a key public education effort, Cybersecurity for State Leaders, which is training leaders in all 50 states on best practices in cybersecurity.

Best practices for maintaining good cyber hygiene apply equally to the government and to business across West Virginia. Individuals must stay on top of their own cybersecurity hygiene, personally and professionally, and continuously stay ahead of emerging threats by completing simple tasks, such as updating your software.

The NCC initiative has taken bold steps to integrate, in their outreach and curriculum, with guests from the private sector, including Robert Herjavec, representative from Google, IBM, Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program and Meredith Griffanti from FTI Consulting.

From the public sector, participants have included Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, among countless more senators and members of Congress who have supported this initiative.

For West Virginia small businesses, the good news is that this training is now available to the public at no charge.

For more information on Cybersecurity for State Leaders and to find training in your home state, visit https://cyberforstateleaders.org.

Click here to view the full article online in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.