Attractive targets

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October 11, 2021

Kate Spirgen
PORTRAIT BY AMBER SMITH

You never think it will happen to you until it does. Cybercrime is one of those things no one wants to think about, but it’s a real threat to businesses of all sizes.

Digging into the statistics can be pretty scary. According to Forbes magazine, 2020 broke the record for cyberattacks on companies. And data from computer security company Norton shows one in three consumers have fallen victim to cybercrime in the past year alone.

We’ve all gotten those phishing emails from the prince of Nigeria looking for someone to hang onto some cash for him or spam calls from someone claiming to be the IRS letting you know that there’s been an issue with your social security number. But cybercrime isn’t as obvious as it once was. It used to be something you worried about your grandmother falling for, but now it can look like an email attachment with an important invoice or an urgent request from a colleague.

And the threat is increasing. Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., the FBI has seen a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes. But it’s not just cybercrime that’s increasing. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2021 security survey, the pandemic has led to an increase in multichannel sales fraud (aka, people ordering online and picking up in-store.).

Even though a retail garden center might not seem like a big payout to cybercriminals, it’s often smaller businesses that make for more attractive targets. They lack the security infrastructure larger companies have but also offer the information that cybercriminals are searching for. And according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 88% of small business owners feel that their business is vulnerable to a cyberattack.

A cyberattack can not only compromise your customers’ personal information, but it can also bring your business to a screeching halt. And experts don’t expect the threat to decrease anytime soon.

In this month’s cover story, we explore just a few of the ways you can take steps to protect your company’s most vital information. We hope you find a few tips to help make your garden center a little bit safer, both online and at the store. Plus, worsening port congestion and delays at LA/Long Beach are keeping Asia-U.S. prices extremely high at more than quadruple their level a year ago.

Kate Spirgen
kspirgen@gie.net