Cyber security important for small businesses

In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, NIU Springboard is presenting a four-part webinar series for small business owners and managers. The sessions will help entrepreneurs understand the risks facing their systems and then show them how to use tools, policies, and procedures to keep their data and systems safe.

Sessions range in cost from $5 to $39. Online registration is available at

“It is critical for small business owners to understand the real online threats facing their companies and the steps they need to take to safeguard data for themselves and their customers,” said Luanne Mayorga, an NIU Outreach associate focusing on business and workforce development.

A recent survey of small business owners by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec found that 73 percent of small-to-medium businesses say a safe and trusted Internet is critical to their success, and 77 percent say a strong cyber security and online safety posture is good for their company’s brand. Yet 83 percent had no formal cyber security plan.

In a recent article on, Brian Burch, Symantec’s vice president of Americas Marketing for SMB, said almost 40 percent of the more than 1 billion cyber attacks Symantec prevented in the first three months of 2012 targeted companies with fewer than 500 employees.

The next webinar, “Defense Strategies Against Cyber Threats,” will be presented on Friday, Nov. 8. Future webinars are “Beyond the Firewall: Tools to Protect Your Business” on Friday, Nov. 22 and “Policies and Procedures to Keep Your Business Safe” on Friday, Dec. 7. All of the webinars will be presented at 8 a.m.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get the information they needed without taking too much time away from their business responsibilities,” Mayorga said. “Owners and managers can attend these 8 a.m. sessions from the office or even at home over breakfast.”

NIU Springboard is an online portal through which local enterprises can access business resources from the university and its partners.

Springboard includes a directory to all the opportunities provided by NIU’s colleges and faculty experts and will help businesses connect with NIU’s students for internships and career opportunities.

News of important events and links to government and local agencies providing critical services to businesses will be posted as well.

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