New course aims to protect small business from cyber attack

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - There is growing concern for small businesses to protect themselves against a cyber-attack.

Later this month, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and Blinn College are teaming up to educate the leaders of those companies on cybersecurity.

John Romero, a program director with the TEEX Cyber Readiness center says small businesses have a big responsibility when it comes to protecting customer information.

"In this course, we discuss what the threats and vulnerabilities are,” said Romero. “We will look into the actors and their motivations. Then we also move into risk management and how to protect them."

In 2016, 36 percent of cyber-attacks were aimed at small businesses and that number is expected to grow.

"We actually have accidental data breaches by employees,” said Romero. “They may release something on Instagram or Facebook that the small business owner did not want out yet."

Romero says small business is the backbone of communities like Bryan and College Station that's why he believes its important small companies take inventory and realize the vulnerabilities within their organization.

"The risk is high for small businesses,” he said. “In fact, if a small business gets breached in data information there are statistics that show within six months they are out of business."

Candace Scott and Robin Kenney of the Birds Nest in Downtown Bryan say they are aware of the concerns.

"We want to do everything we can to make sure that customers are comfortable shopping small business,” said Scott.

The team recently upgraded the store's credit card system with further security protection against hackers.

"It is worth it just to protect our customers,” said Kenney. “Just to give them peace of mind and also to protect us."

Both agree it’s important to stay on top of the ever-changing cyber world.

"Because what’s safe today may not be safe tomorrow,” said Kenney.

The Cybersecurity for Business Executives course will be held at the Center for Infrastructure Renewal, located at 1041 RELLIS Parkway Building 8535 on the RELLIS Campus, from 8 a.m. to noon Friday, June 22.

Participants can register now for $249. To register, visit https://cyberready.org/executive-workshop.