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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Protecting Your Organization: Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses and Nonprofits in Portland

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of staying vigilant against cyber threats. While large corporations often make headlines for major data breaches, small businesses and nonprofits in Portland are not immune to cyberattacks. In fact, they are often considered easier targets due to limited resources dedicated to cybersecurity.

Alarming Facts about Cyberattacks on Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Small Businesses Are Prime Targets

According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. Hackers often view these organizations as low-hanging fruit, assuming they have weaker security measures in place compared to larger enterprises. The fallout from such an attack can be devastating for small businesses, with many struggling to recover financially and to maintain their reputation.

Nonprofits Are Not Immune

Nonprofit organizations may think they are off the radar, but they too are at risk. In fact, the Nonprofit Technology Network reported that 60% of nonprofits have experienced a cyber attack. These organizations, which often handle sensitive donor information, are enticing targets for cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities.

Cost of a Data Breach

The cost of a data breach for a small business or nonprofit can be crippling. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reports that the average cost of a data breach for a small business is $149,000. This includes the expenses associated with investigating the breach, notifying affected parties, and implementing measures to prevent future incidents. For nonprofits, the cost goes beyond financial implications, potentially damaging the trust and reputation they've built with their supporters.

Essential Tips for Cybersecurity

1. Conduct Regular Security Audits

Regularly assessing your organization's digital infrastructure is crucial. Identify vulnerabilities, outdated software, and areas where security protocols may be lacking. Engage professionals to conduct penetration testing to expose potential weak points that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

2. Educate Your Team

Invest in cybersecurity training for your employees. They are often the first line of defense against cyber threats. Teach them how to recognize phishing attempts, create strong passwords, and follow best practices for online security. Encourage a culture of vigilance and empower them to report suspicious activity promptly.

3. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide two or more forms of authentication before granting access. This could be a combination of a password, a fingerprint, or a security token. By implementing MFA, you significantly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access.

4. Keep Software and Systems Updated

Outdated software is a common entry point for cyberattacks. Regularly update all software and applications to ensure they have the latest security patches. Consider enabling automatic updates wherever possible to stay protected against known vulnerabilities.

5. Back Up Your Data

Regularly back up your organization's critical data. This ensures that even in the event of a successful cyberattack, you can quickly recover and minimize the damage. Use secure, off-site backups and regularly test the restoration process to ensure everything is in working order.

By being proactive and vigilant, small businesses and nonprofits can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to cyberattacks. Remember, cybersecurity is not a one-time effort; it's an ongoing commitment to protecting your organization and its stakeholders from the evolving landscape of cyber threats.


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