Costly and worryingly frequent, cyber attacks are a major concern for U.S. small businesses, a new study shows. The National Small Business Association (NSBA) released the results of a survey this week in which 94% of owners revealed that they are very or somewhat concerned about cyber security at their small businesses, nearly half of which have been victimized by hi-tech attacks. "Small-business owners are handling more of their firm's IT operations," says NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. "This growing IT reliance makes issues such as cyber security, intellectual property protection and a functional online marketplace critically important in today's global economy."
According to the NSBA's 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, cyber attacks cost small businesses on average $8,699 per incident. Companies that had their business banking accounts hacked lost, on average, $6,927. The NSBA noted that such accounts are not protected the same way traditional consumer banking accounts are – a loophole in the law that only one in four small businesses are aware of.
Additionally, the survey revealed that business owners, one in four of which hold a patent, are concerned about intellectual property. "Unfortunately, among those impacted by the America Invents Act, the overwhelming majority say it has had a negative impact on their business," says NSBA Chair David Ickert.
In another key finding, the survey found that small-business utilization of technology platforms such as cloud computing, smart phones, tablets and high-speed Internet has increased over the past three years. This shift has driven an increase in small-business owners who report that they allow employees to telecommute – up from 44% three years ago to 60% today.