When it comes to data security it’s been a troubling year for both companies and their customers.  Some computer systems have holes big enough to drive a truck through. The American public has suffered data breaches from some of our most trusted corporations, including Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Apple.

But in today’s cyber world, cyber crime is an equal opportunity threat.  Hackers aren’t just targeting the big, Fortune 500 companies.  In fact, cyber thieves have turned their focus on smaller business, which have less sophisticated firewalls and are easier to hack.

According to data from Symantec, 30 percent of cyber attacks in 2012 happened against small-to-medium (SMB) sized companies with fewer than 250 employees.  That was up from just 18 percent a year earlier.  A 2013 study by Verizon, as reported in SMBnation, found that 62 percent of breaches affected smaller businesses.

A 2012 study by the National Cyber Security Alliance reported that 60 percent of small firms go out of business within six months of a data breach.

Today’s cyber attacks are focused on getting into systems quickly and finding something valuable, like sensitive personal details, intellectual property, authentication credentials, and insider information and leaving before anyone is the wiser.

Most SMBs that do not take payment via credit and debit cards might think they are immune from attacks.  The bad guys are only after credit card numbers, right?  Wrong.  SMBs have much of value in their networks beyond payment card data, including trade secrets and proprietary information such as client lists, marketing strategies, product plans, etc.  Furthermore, virtually all SMBs keep sensitive employee information such as Social Security numbers on file.