Mastercard – Providing Canadian Small Businesses With Free Cybersecurity Assessments

Small Business Canada

CanadianSME had the chance to chat with Sue Hutchison, Senior Vice President of Product, Digital and New Payments for Mastercard in Canada and discussed about their new support to Canadian Small Businesses.

Cybersecurity has always been an important aspect when it comes to protecting the safety of small businesses. Why is it crucial for small businesses to implement safety measures when it comes to protecting their systems?

Canadian small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and it’s vital they are protected. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses quickly moved their activities online to adapt to social distancing requirements. This pivot also means that many small businesses now face greater exposure to cyber threats, so having a security system is more important than ever.

How has COVID-19 impacted cyberattacks? Has there been a significant increase?

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped business and daily life in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and fraudsters are taking advantage of the dramatic increase in online activity.

Generally, we are seeing a focus on quality over quantity. High-volume basic attacks are giving way to high quality, human-like attacks – such as faking human typing patterns – to reduce the chances of being caught by bot-detection tools. But it isn’t all a battle of the bots; fraudsters are also hiring human workers to manually deploy attacks.

Without factoring in the surge we’ve seen during the pandemic, these types of sophisticated attacks have grown 430%, and human account takeover attacks (the use of someone else’s credentials) have grown by 330%, globally. Meanwhile, fewer than 2% of attacks in 2019 used spoofing (the modification of a device’s information such as a browser), compared to 60% in 2018. (2019: Fraud risk at a glance report from NuData Security, a Mastercard company.)

Mastercard recently announced that it would be providing free cybersecurity assessments to Canadian small businesses until the end of 2020. How will this help small businesses? What impact will it have on their business?

The cyberhealth assessment from RiskRecon, a Mastercard company, helps small businesses identify and address potential vulnerabilities in their systems. By monitoring and catching vulnerabilities early, it enables small businesses to stay ahead of cybercriminals so they can focus on growing their business, instead of fighting costly cyber-attacks. With free access to RiskRecon’s ‘My Cyber Risk’ service and portal, small business owners can receive ongoing cyberhealth assessments along with actionable recommendations for how to strengthen their cybersecurity posture.

RiskRecon also helps businesses better understand and act on their cybersecurity health by continuously discovering their digital footprint and non-invasively assessing their security risk posture across 40 security criteria spanning thousands of security checks.

What measurements should entrepreneurs implement to ensure the safety and protection of their data and business?

There are a few measures entrepreneurs and small business owners can take to help protect their digital ecosystems. Compared to a large enterprise, one breach for these organizations could seriously damage their business, so taking the necessary actions – and taking them early – is vital.

To understand their cybersecurity health, entrepreneurs and small businesses should regularly assess and monitor their digital footprint and system so they can readily act upon any risks. This may include using readily available technology to assess web encryption, email security, defensibility, and data loss. These security assessments are included in the free cybersecurity offer that RiskRecon, a Mastercard company, is providing to Canadian small businesses through December 31, 2020.

But it’s not just the initial set-up of tools that’s important. Staying up to date with the latest software and technology will better help mitigate any risks. The same goes for establishing a regular cadence of scheduled backups to ensure any and all information is stored safely. These steps can help protect the overall health of a business.

On a final note, what other initiatives is Mastercard putting in place to help small businesses during these challenging times?

Mastercard has a proud history of supporting small businesses in Canada. In addition to free access to the resources they need to safeguard their systems, Mastercard also enabled higher contactless limits across Canada. This is part of our global effort to ensure consumers and businesses have the resources to safely pay, receive payment, and maintain operations during this challenging time.

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