‘Cybersecurity toolkit’ launches for small businesses

The size of a business doesn’t matter when it comes to responsible cybersecurity.
20 February 2019

The toolkit is aimed at small businesses, such as a ‘pizzeria or dry cleaners’

No business is immune to cybersecurity risks, whatever its size, but small businesses without the know-how or resources to protect themselves and their consumer’s data can often be the most vulnerable.

It’s this clientele that the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA)— a non-profit organization backed by the New York attorney’s office and the City of London Police— is looking to target with a new ‘Cybersecurity Toolkit’.

Offering “free and effective tools you can use today to take immediate action to reduce risk for your business,” the object of the initiative is to help small business owners significantly reduce the cyber risks they face every day.

It’s particularly poignant as data collection becomes ever more commonplace and businesses become increasingly digital.

The toolkit addresses the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls, a recommended set of actions, based current threat information and expert guidance, for preventing and reducing the most common attacks.

Offering users free cybersecurity tools guidance for installation, resources and security assessments, GCA says addressing just the first five guidelines can reduce an organization’s risk of a cyber attack by 85 percent.

GCA President Phil Reitinger said the toolkit was aimed to be usable by organizations with a staff count of 5-10, “like a pizzeria or dry cleaner”.

“These are the merchants you deal with on a day-to-day basis. They’re your friends. They’re your neighbors. And you want to know you can patronize them and your personal information will be safe,” he said.

Partnering on the initiative is Mastercard, whose chief information security officer, Ron Green, lauded the project’s potential to enhance the protection of consumer data at a wide scale.

“People have to have faith and trust that their transactions will be safe and secure,” said Green, adding that a big portion of vendors could suffer if consumers lose trust in the cybersecurity of small businesses. It will also benefit larger businesses with smaller outfits in their supply chains.

According to Reitinger, the GCA plans to promote the toolkit to small businesses through 240 partner organizations, including national governments, companies and business associations globally.

Apart from anti-virus and ransomware protection, the toolkit also includes multi-factor authentication systems that prevent hackers from extracting data using stolen passwords.

Tools that protect the inventory of all the company’s IT assets and programs that prevent hackers from spoofing company emails via phishing attacks are also on offer.

Responsibility for cybersecurity and data protection is often placed with the tech giants in the public eye, such as Google, Facebook or large retail or services brands.

With small businesses accounting for 99 percent of businesses globally, however, responsibility among every business, regardless of size or prevalence, is paramount.