CHARLOTTE -- More companies are doing more business online, which means more of their data is at risk.
“95 percent of my clients I never meet,” CEO & founder of Remarkable Leadership Lessons Denise Cooper said. “I have their names, and addresses, titles, emails."
She represents one of the 150 businesses at the Cybersecure My Business Workshop at UNCC, Tuesday.
“[Small businesses] are so open to these hacks because they don't take an opportunity to get this information and this knowledge,” executive director of Women’s Business Center of Charlotte Natalie Williams said. The Women’s Business Center scheduled the event before hackers seized Mecklenburg County servers, stole county data and held it for a two bitcoin ransom.
"But it's going to be two bitcoin whether you're a huge municipality or you're a company of ten, 30 people,” CEO of Sterling Technology Solutions Tom Blanchard said.
Blanchard estimates the Mecklenburg County hack has helped boost his company's bottom line by several percent.
“It's been a really effective tool for us to talk to our clients that maybe don't have the security that we'd like,” Blanchard said.
Other security firms have seen an increase in inquires, new business and purchases from existing clients. One firm estimates a 15 percent jump in business.
“I've definitely gotten a lot more inquiries,” director of security measurement at Northstate Technology Solutions Brandon Martin said. "Without actually seeing it, or it happening to you, the gamblers paradox takes over and you assume it just won't happen.”
The problem with people waiting until a major hack is, by that point, they could be a victim. As attacks increase demand for security, the cost of that security and the pedigree needed to defend from hackers continues to increase.
“Some of our clients in the past could have gotten away with free anti-virus software,” Blanchard said. “But the risk is getting too high so they need paid enterprise-level software."
“And I think the one thing that people worry about the most is, if i send this information to Denise will somebody else see it?,” Cooper said. “And I think they need to know I'm taking great pains and the extra cost to make sure their data's good."
Cyber security has become so in demand, according to Cyber Seek, there's a 200,000 cyber security jobs gap.