The Forge Institute in Little Rock on Monday announced it had started offering free cybersecurity assessments for small businesses as part of a pilot program with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Forge Institute was awarded a $1 million federal grant to participate in the program. The nonprofit said the funds will allow the Arkansas Cyber Defense Center, which launched last spring, to conduct 260 assessments for at least 130 small businesses in Arkansas.
A 10-minute cyber risk assessment is available online at the Forge Institute’s website. Once completed, the assessment will be reviewed by ACDC analysts who will provide recommendations in a custom report to help bolster cyber defenses.
"About 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyberattack," Scott Anderson, executive director of the Forge Institute, said in a news release. "What small businesses in Arkansas need to defend themselves are specialized resources and expertise. The ACDC helps to fill that gap for small businesses."
In addition to the free cyber assessment, the ACDC trains small-business owners on how to implement cybersecurity best practices and how to interact with law enforcement in the event of a data breach. Joint awareness campaigns and training will be conducted in collaboration with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and other partner organizations.
"Empowering and preparing small businesses to combat cybersecurity threats during their formative and most vulnerable years is fundamental to mounting an adequate defense to this growing threat," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the release. "The Forge Institute ACDC will provide small businesses with the necessary resources to create and maintain frontline defenses against attacks."