Legal Perspective with Ed Tarver: Is Your Small Business Vulnerable to a Cyberattack?

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

By Ed Tarver -

More and more, small business owners are asking the question, can I be sued because I was a victim of a cybercrime? Approximately half of worldwide Internet attacks were reported against small businesses with less than 250 employees.  Small businesses have become a much more enticing target for both hackers and civil plaintiffs.  Why?  Because larger corporations generally have resources that most small businesses do not have to constantly improve their cyber security. 

What is Cybersecurity? Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems from the theft or damage to the hardware, software or the information on them, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.  

Are the cybersecurity measures used by your small business adequate to repel cyberattacks?  In addition to safeguarding important business secrets and confidential information, small businesses also have a duty to safeguard the personal information of their clients.  Implied within that duty is the responsibility to be vigilant with computer security.  Failing to do so risks harm to the clients and liability to the small business.

The most egregious forms of cybercrime that small businesses face are spam, ransomware, and phishing.  Spam attacks use electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited messages, especially advertising.  Ransomware involves computer malware that covertly installs on a business victim’s computer to hold the victim’s data hostage, or threatens to publish the business victim’s data, until a ransom is paid.  A ransomware attack could cease business operations until their files are recovered.   Phishing is the practice of sending emails that induce the recipient to supply personal customer information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Privacy and data security is extremely important.  Is your small business vulnerable to a cyberattack? Can hackers gain access to your business IT network?  Can hackers eavesdrop on your business communications and steal confidential information?  When was the last time that you updated the email system for your business?   Has the email system used by your business been superseded by another version or completely replaced?  Don’t wait for a Hacker to answer these questions for your small business.