There’s no denying that we are in a digitally driven economy, and that data is the new currency. We are also in a cyber war with our adversaries. Add to that the Department of Justice’s Civil Cyber Initiative* and you’ve got the perfect cyber-storm for small businesses – particularly defense contractors that must comply with DoD cybersecurity regulations.
The cyber attack stories that make the news typically involve large businesses, but it’s important to keep in mind that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. It is also important to note that a robust cybersecurity program that is compliant with federal cybersecurity regulations can cost a small business more than $100K to implement.
What should small businesses do to protect themselves from cyber attacks without spending a fortune on cybersecurity programs? What can other organizations in the supply chain do to help them? What can we do to keep sensitive data out of the hands of our adversaries? The answer: keep sensitive data out of cyberspace whenever possible.
We have all gotten used to forwarding attachments or hitting the send button without thinking about the sensitivity of the data or if the recipient of the data really needs it. Maybe we need to go back in time a few years to find ‘new’ solutions to protect data.
Long before there was such a thing as the internet, people built civilizations, manufactured products, and provided services. How did they do it? They communicated with each other. Keeping sensitive data out of cyberspace will require communication and collaboration up and down the supply chain. Every organization in every supply chain needs to find ways to minimize the digital transmission of sensitive data, and we are going to have to work together to make that happen.
Does the landscaping contractor at Ft. Bragg need a map that shows base coordinates? A short conversation or an email between the contracting officer and the owner of the company is all it would take to answer that question. If they determine the map that includes the coordinates is necessary, the map doesn’t have to be sent electronically – it can be sent via certified mail, FedEx, UPS, etc.
Does the small machine shop need an entire technical data package to manufacture nuts and bolts? Not likely, but a conversation or email between the prime and the machine shop will provide the answer and an opportunity to discuss options.
While communication and collaboration take time and cost more than just hitting the send button, when compared to the cost of a successful cyber attack, the cost of a complex cybersecurity program, or the cost of compromising national security, communication and collaboration are much more economical options.
For help with your cybersecurity compliance program, please visit the North Carolina Military Business Center’s cybersecurity compliance website at www.cyberNC.us .
Laura Rodgers, MBA, DPPS
Cybersecurity Compliance Professional
North Carolina Military Business Center
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