U.S. government helping small businesses combat cyberattacks

U.S. government helping small businesses combat cyberattacks

With small businesses prime targets for cyberattacks, the U.S. government announced Monday that it designed a free, online resource to help companies improve their data security.

The tool, named the Small Biz Cyber Planner, will allow small businesses to devise a customized cybersecurity strategy by answering basic questions about their internet needs. A well-designed plan will enable businesses to better protect themselves and their customers from data security threats.

"A recent study found that American small businesses lose billions annually to cyberattacks," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "The cost of each individual cyberattack to small-and medium-sized businesses averages about $200,000. Contrast that with the Connected Nation study that projects $200,000 in increased annual revenue, and you see that failure to take cybersecurity seriously can potentially negate the benefits of being online."

The announcement was part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a series of events supported by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to a recent survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance, only 52 percent of small businesses had an online security plan, while 85 percent of owners thought their companies were protected from cyberattacks.