Most women business owners are not ready for a cyberattack. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners annual survey, just under half of the respondents have done absolutely nothing to prepare for a cybersecurity incident while 20 percent have discussed cybersecurity awareness with staff, 20 percent have been evaluated by an IT firm, and about 15 percent have purchased cyber liability coverage. Let’s face it: too many small businesses do not have IT departments, and in most cases, they do not have an IT consultant on the payroll. And unfortunately, they can be some of the biggest targets.

Regardless of whether or not women business owners are prepared, there is a general consensus among women business owners today of the importance of keeping their data secure, ensuring that their data is not hacked, and educating themselves and meeting the standards to keep their businesses safe. With this issue in mind, during a recent brainstorming session among National Association of Women Business Owners members, we discussed a few strategies to help educate or prevent future attacks on women business owners. These include:

1. Education

There needs to be more education surrounding cyber insurance. Many women business owners do not understand their potential liabilities, and there needs to be more information on what is available and what their company would be on the hook for if they are compromised without insurance.

2. Lower prices

We must work on the price tag for IT services for small business. One option could be that women business owners form co-ops to bring the cost down for each individual company.

3. LEEDS

Our nation needs a similar system to the LEEDS certification. While a LEEDS certification lets the public know about a green building, the cyber certification would outline to small business owners which computer/software companies meet high cyber standards and let business owners know that the software has been properly vetted.

4. Training

Free online training for business owners should be available so they can try to educate themselves. Guidance from experts can help explain potential threats to small businesses, as well as preventative measures to avoid becoming targets.

Bottom line, our nation’s small businesses need to have reasonably priced resources available, and they also need to understand what could happen in the absence of those resources. Until then, we plan to educate ourselves and encourage policymakers to try to find ways to help ensure that our nation’s small businesses remain safe.