Iowa merchants can learn about cyber security at free workshops being put on by the FBI and the U-S Small Business Administration. Joe Folsom, district director of the SBA, says many small businesses owners aren’t up-to-date on things like scare-ware or root-kits, much less how to defend their computers and websites against them.
Folsom says, “We’ll be covering the things that we’re most familiar with like viruses and trojans and spyware, but also putting systems and policies in place to protect data that’s integral to your business, particularly stuff that might be personally identifiable data which really creates significant issues.”
He says business owners will learn how to secure their electronic data and protect themselves from from a wide range of threats and vulnerabilities that could cripple their businesses.
“We hear almost on a regular basis, situations where someone may’ve had some information stolen from a laptop,” Folsom says. “All of the sudden, things like Social Security numbers and other information that can be abused are out there somewhere and we don’t know where.”
He says they’ll also be getting a hand during the seminars from the experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. There’s a four-hour presenation by NIST but then there will be one-on-one counseling meetings between the FBI’s cyber-security team and small business owners to talk about their particular needs.
Part of the SBA’s mission is to ensure small business owners are prepared to deal with a disaster, Folsom says, adding, an electronic disaster can be just as devastating to a small business as a natural disaster.
Folsom says, “It’s a great opportunity for businesses to learn some of the tools, techniques and processes they can put in place to protect their business, their customers and themselves.” The first workshop will be held next week (July 29th) in Cedar Rapids from 1-7 PM.
It will be repeated in central Iowa in Ankeny on August 26 from 8 AM- 4:30 PM. To register for either of the free workshops, go to www.sba.gov/ia/desmo