This year marks the 14th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
Cybersecurity has remained in the news for much of 2017. From global hacks to concerns around connected cities, homes and devices, cybersecurity and digital privacy is now an issue for every business.
Smaller businesses have become targets for cybercriminals because they have fewer defense resources than large enterprises — and criminals know this. If cybercriminals can breach a small business and steal credentials — like banking accounts or email access — they can use that information to steal money directly, create attacks on customers, and work their way around the business ecosystem in other ways.
Whether your organization is large or small, it’s a sound idea to have a plan for employee education, training and awareness.
The 2016 State of Small & Medium-Sized Business (SMB) Cybersecurity report surveyed 598 individuals in companies with 1,000 or fewer employees. Here are a few findings:
- 50 percent of SMBs have been breached in the past 12 months
- The most prevalent attacks against SMBs are web-based and phishing/social engineering
- 59 percent of SMBs have no visibility into employee password practices, such as using strong passwords and sharing passwords with others
- 65 percent of SMBs that have a password policy do not strictly enforce it
Minnesota Data Points
- There are an estimated 3,560 information security analysts in Minnesota. The metro area accounts for over 90 percent of the state’s total information security analysts.
- The median hourly wage for Information Security Analysts is $42.59 in Minnesota, significantly higher than the median hourly wage for the total of all occupations, at $19.62. The typical information security analyst makes nearly $47,800 more per year working full time, then the overall worker in the state.
- The demand is high. As of the second quarter in 2017, there were 151 vacancies in Minnesota, nearly all in the metro area. Of these vacancies, all are for full-time positions, 80 percent require post-secondary education, nearly all require prior work experience, and 21 percent require a certificate or license. Over the year, such vacancies climbed by nine percent.
- Information security analysts are projected to grow by 11.2 percent through 2024. For reference, the total of all occupations are projected to grow by 4.3 percent. Projected rapid growth is due to the increased frequency in cyberattacks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information security analysts will be needed to come up with innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating problems for computer networks. Expanded demand for analysts will be especially focused within federal government and health care.
- Education needed: bachelor’s degree, usually in computer science, computer programming, or related field. Certifications may also be required for many job openings.
Safeguarding Your Business
Minnesota IT Services, the State of Minnesota’s IT organization, plays an important role in educating Minnesotans about the importance of cybersecurity. Here are additional cyber tips for businesses.