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Small business and cybercrime survey

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday January 8, 2011 )

Many small businesses think that cybercriminals tend to target larger companies – but nothing is further from the truth.

A study carried out late last year sponsored by Visa Inc. and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) of 1,000 small businesses in the USA determined the dangers from cybercrime such as fraud are often underestimated.

The survey found that close to half of small business owners feel the costs and time involved to secure their business is over the top compared to the threat.

75 percent of owners said their employees have received less than three hours of network and mobile device security training during the prior 12 months and 47 percent stated their employees received no hours of training at all.

The survey also found over 85 percent of small business owners believe that they are less of a cybercrime target than large companies.

However, 84 percent believe they have the necessary tools in place in place for keeping data and computer systems secure.

Given the former figure, the latter one is kind of hard to believe – if a threat isn’t perceived, most people don’t act to secure themselves against it.

Most of my work online has been with small businesses and every day I see evidence of attempts at fraud and phishing. Cybercrims love small business as they can be a soft target and incidents usually go unreported. Given the automated tools at their disposal, it’s easy for them to hit multiple businesses in a short space of time.

Rosetta Jones from Visa said that small business owners should ensure their payment system software secure, in other words – PCI compliant.

I think that aside from automated security tools, manual anti-fraud screening should be in place. It can sometimes be days, weeks or even months after a bunch of fraudulent transactions are made that a merchant will suddenly get hit with chargebacks. Chargebacks are not only expensive in terms of financial penalties and time, but if you have enough of them, they can threaten your merchant account and with that, your ability to process credit card payments.

If your merchant account is terminated due to an excessive level of chargebacks, it can be hard getting another and usually more expensive as your business will be then be considered high risk.


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