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Webinar teaches small business cyber security

October 18, 2013

Cyber Security for the Small BusinessIn honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, NIU Springboard is presenting a four-part webinar series for small business owners and managers.

The sessions will help entrepreneurs understand the risks facing their systems and then show them how to use tools, policies and procedures to keep their data and systems safe.

Sessions range in cost from $5 to $39. A discount is available for those who register for the entire series. Registration is available online.

Luanne Mayorga, an NIU Outreach associate focusing on business and workforce development, says that these webinars couldn’t come at a better time. “It is critical for small business owners to understand the real online threats facing their companies and the steps they need to take to safeguard data for themselves and their customers.”

A recent survey of small business owners by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec found that “73 percent of SMBs (Small Medium Businesses) say a safe and trusted Internet is critical to their success, and 77 percent say a strong cyber security and online safety posture is good for their company’s brand.” Yet 83 percent of the small business owners surveyed had no formal cyber security plan.

In a recent article on, Brian Burch, Symantec’s vice president of Americas Marketing for SMB, says that “almost 40 percent of the over 1 billion cyber attacks Symantec prevented in the first three months of 2012 targeted companies with less than 500 employees.  And for the small, poorly protected companies that suffer an attack, it’s often fatal to their business.”

Raimund Ege

Raimund Ege

Organizers of NIU’s Cyber Security webinars hope to prevent such losses to northern Illinois businesses by providing what Luanne Mayorga  calls “relevant, actionable information that owners and managers can apply to their businesses right away.”

The webinars will be hosted by Raimund K. Ege, an associate professor in the NIU Department of Computer Science. Ege, who has more than 25 years of experience working with businesses and universities on information security solutions, is the creator of the Cyber Security graduate certificate program at NIU.

  • Part 1 – Friday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m. – Cyber Threats and Your Bottom Line: An Overview of Cyber Security
  • Part 2 – Friday, Nov. 8, 8 a.m. – Defense Strategies Against Cyber Threats
  • Part 3 – Friday, Nov. 22, 8 a.m. – Beyond the Firewall: Tools to Protect Your Business
  • Part 4 – Friday, Dec. 7, 8 a.m. – Policies and Procedures to Keep Your Business Safe

Mayorga says these early morning webinars were designed with the small business owner in mind. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get the information they needed without taking too much time away from their business responsibilities. Owners and managers can attend these 8 a.m. sessions from the office or even at home over breakfast.”

The Cyber Security Webinar Series is just one of the many ways that NIU is strengthening ties with the business community. NIU Outreach recently launched Springboard, an online portal through which local enterprises can access business resources from the university and its partners.

Springboard includes a directory to all the opportunities provided by NIU’s colleges and faculty experts and will help businesses connect with NIU’s students for internships and career opportunities. News of important events and links to government and local agencies providing critical services to businesses will be posted as well.

The first cyber security webinar is at a special invitational price of only $5 so that attendees can learn more about the critical issues that can impact their enterprises. Attendees who register for the entire series will receive a discounted rate.

For more information, call (815) 753-6927 or email [email protected].