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Study: Despite Increasing Threats, A Majority of Small Business Owners Don't Fear Becoming Victim of a Cyber Attack

October 25, 2017

Paychex survey finds 68% of small business owners are not concerned about cyber threats; nearly all respondents confident they could recover from a hack

October might be National Cyber Security Month, but America’s small business owners may want to consider placing a greater emphasis on cyber awareness and best practices year-round – especially in this current time when cyber threats seem to be on the rise. According to the latest Small Business Snapshot from Paychex, a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services, 68 percent of small business owners are not worried about their business being hacked.

The same survey revealed 90 percent of small business owners are at least somewhat confident that their business would be able to recover from a hack, should it happen. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, more than 70 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses, and the cost of recovery can be enough to permanently force an organization out of business.

“Small businesses are particularly vulnerable because they often possess richer data sets than average consumers, but generally lack the protections most larger businesses have in place,” said Todd Colvin, senior director of data systems and security at Paychex. “National Cyber Security Awareness month is a great time for small business owners to assess their current tolerance for cyber risk and determine if they have implemented an appropriate level of cyber security protections across their organization. Short of implementing a broad suite of cyber security protections, small businesses would be served well by following basic computer hygiene practices – such as implementing a documented information security policy, logical access restrictions, robust logging and review, device and application patching – all year long.”

While the majority of Paychex’s survey respondents expressed a certain fearlessness about the threat of a cyber attack, many did admit they are not immune. Ten percent of those surveyed reported having been the victim of a small-scale attack and 9 percent suffered from a large-scale national or international attack such as Ransomware or Wannacry.

It’s not always professional cyber criminals who are the problem. Unfortunately, employees can pose a risk, as well. Of those surveyed, 10 percent said they had discovered an employee inappropriately disclosing confidential business information online, either accidently or purposefully, and 9 percent suspected an employee of doing the same.

“Hiring the right employees who possess similar values from the start can have a positive impact on an organization’s overall security,” Colvin said. “Conducting a thorough background check is a critical component to making the right hire and is a step in the hiring process that should happen no matter what the position.”

Colvin also recommends businesses consider investing in cyber breach liability insurance, as most traditional business insurance policies do not cover the range of expenses a cyber attack may incur. To learn more about cyber breach liability coverage, contact the Paychex Insurance Agency, which has served the general insurance needs of more than 120,000 clients for over two decades, here.

About the Paychex Small Business Survey
Data included in the Paychex Small Business Snapshot was taken from the results of the Paychex Small Business Survey, administered by Bredin, a third-party research firm specializing in small business. The survey was conducted online between August 18, 2017 and August 24, 2017 and polled 341 principals of U.S. companies with 1-500 employees.

 Disclaimer:  The data cited in this news release represents the opinions of the survey respondents and not those of Paychex or its employees.

Tracy Volkmann
Public Relations Program Manager
585-387-6705

Tracy Volkmann

Tracy Volkmann began working at Paychex in July 2014 and currently serves as the public relations program manager. In this role, she is responsible for research PR efforts, as well as all publicity for the company's technology solution, Paychex Flex, and supporting overall goals of the public relations department. Tracy is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and has a background in collegiate athletic communications, having spent seven years at West Point.