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Dept. of Homeland Security offers Phoenix-area business owners safety tips

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Small business owners gathered in a Phoenix suburb on Thursday to get cybersafety tips from a Department of Homeland Security official.

About 40 percent of those in attendance at the Tempe Center for the Arts said their company does not have a plan to respond to a cyber security incident. Michael Echols with the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications said those attacks can be devastating for a business.

“If you get your taxes wrong, it won’t put you out of business,” he said. “If you screw up with your cybersecurity systems, it could put you out of business.”

Echols told business owners that cybersecurity should be a top priority.

“Cybersecurity is part of our way of life,” he said. “It has to be integrated into your business just like any other business function.”

Echols said business owners need to understand what matters and have better awareness of the risks that are online. He also told business owners to create a culture of cybersecurity in their environments, such as discussing potential risks with employees.

Echols said DHS has online resources that small business owners can use to better their cybersecurity presence, such as the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community Voluntary Program and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS).

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