Protecting The Heart Of America: Small Business

Today, I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak before the Committee on Small Business at a hearing titled, Cyber Security:

Protecting Your Small Business.  I spoke with the Committee about the issues small businesses face in combating cyber security threats. Based on McAfee’s perspective and insights, I provided recommendations that small businesses can take to protect themselves from cyberattacks and offered policy recommendations to support the small business community and improve public/private sector information sharing.

Small businesses can face the same cyber security risk as larger entities, yet they often cannot afford dedicated security staff, training, or comprehensive solutions.  Government can play a great role in protecting small businesses that comprise the majority of our corporate community, by subsidizing security products and services based on solid risk assessments, and incentivizing (e,g, through tax incentives or insurance) solid cyber investment.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Having generated 65 percent of new jobs over the past 17 years, small businesses play a critical role in the nation’s economy.  According to the SmallBusiness Administration (SBA), small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and also hire 43 percent of all high tech workers and produce 16.5 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Public-Private partnerships are crucial for small businesses to engage with government and private sector entities with larger resources to exchange intelligence and best practices.

Further, because small businesses comprise the majority of our corporate population, larger entities benefit as well from the collective cybersecurity intelligence across small businesses.

Small businesses have a great wealth of information and it’s critical that the data remains secure. However, small businesses lack the funds to employ a dedicated security team or purchase enterprise security solutions, and thus, protecting these establishments is an ever growing important issue.

It is critical that small businesses take the necessary steps to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Here are a few recommendations:

*         Early adoption of three new security and industry trends-Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), managed security services, and dedicated security appliances

*         Minimize the amount of sensitive information retained in the organization

*         Practice risk management first

*         Buy the appropriate level of security

As Congress and the public/private sector continue to build upon the strides already made in addressing the cybersecurity challenges, we can successfully evolve ongoing efforts to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from sophisticated cyber attacks.

We are only as strong as our weakest link, and we need incentives and subsidies for good cyber security for small business!

McAfee International Limited is registered in England and Wales with its registered address at 100 New Bridge Street, London, Company No. 02825890

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