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Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 11-17

October 2, 2015

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Mike Lambert, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research Center manager

“The other day I heard a report on Wyoming Public Radio that talked about cyberattacks impacting small businesses. Should we be worried in Wyoming?” Marsha, Rock Springs

Unfortunately, there truly is reason to be concerned. Most people think of cyberattacks against business as being against huge corporations like Target or Home Depot. But, in reality, many small businesses also are vulnerable.

Statistics collected by the National Cyber Security Alliance indicate that about 20 percent of small businesses experience a cyberattack every year. What’s even more troublesome is that the study also indicates that, of those businesses, 60 percent close their doors and stop operating within six months.

Imagine this: Your small business has a cyberattack and your bank accounts are drained of $40,000. Without that money, could your business survive? Many business owners assume that, in such a case, the bank will make good on the losses, just like they would for an individual who has an identity theft hack. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Federal deposit insurance does not cover businesses and, in most cases, the bank will do nothing but offer sympathy as their legal responsibility is simply to be “commercially reasonable.” Someone who steals your company information and passwords can allow the bank to be legally reasonable, and leave you with no recourse.

What should you do? The NPR news segment suggests the following:

-- Train employees in security principles.

-- Protect information, computers and networks from viruses, spyware and other malicious code.

-- Provide firewall security for your Internet connection.

-- Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications when they become available.

-- Make backup copies of important business data and information.

-- Control physical access to your computers and network components.

-- Secure your Wi-Fi networks.

-- Require individual user accounts for each employee.

-- Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.

If you are victimized, it is important to notify your financial institution. Ask them to contact the corresponding financial institution where the transfer was sent. Contact your local FBI office, which may be able to work to get the funds returned or frozen. You should also file a complaint, no matter how small the loss, with

Cyber security isn’t something that impacts just Fortune 500 companies. It also impacts small town main street businesses.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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