This guest blog post is provided by Public Safety Canada which leads Get Cyber Safe, a national public awareness campaign about Internet security and online safety.

As a small or medium sized business, you may be so busy running your day to day operations that you might not be aware of the importance of cyber security. When things are running smoothly, it's easy to feel safe and believe that cyber criminals are targeting bigger businesses.  But here's a fact: the largest growth area for targeted cyber-attacks in 2012 was businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

The Government of Canada, through its Get Cyber Safe campaign, has launched a new guide to help Canadians who own or manage small or medium businesses understand cyber security risks. The Guide provides practical advice on how to better protect your business, employees, and customer information.

So what is cyber security exactly?

It's protecting your business from malware, viruses, and guarding your businesses information and contact lists from getting into the wrong hands. A good place to start is on the website to learn about risks and the latest threats.

From there, you can use this new Guide to develop and implement a plan for you and your employees — and it can start with a few simple steps:

  • Take a moment to figure out who will lead your cyber security (we know it's likely an ‘extra' job for someone).  Make sure this person — it may even be you — knows to go to for information, and you discuss what to do if a potential risk has been identified.
  • Make notes on what risks your business may face, and prioritize them as high, medium or low level threats. That will help you determine where you need to focus your time and energy.
  • Educate yourself and your employees on why cyber security is important. You want your business to stay on track, and that means making sure everyone is using strong passwords, and software is kept up to date.
  • Develop a security policy that explains what employees may and may not do online while at work. For example, connecting personal devices to the business network, how frequently passwords are changed, or what is acceptable use of social media. The new Guide offers a self-assessment tool to assist you with this kind of cyber security planning.

For more tips on how to keep your businesses free from cyber threats check out the new GetCyberSafe Guide for Small and Medium Businesses available at