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Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats facing small businesses. The challenges small businesses face include how to identify the cyber threats, protect their business, and respond better to cyber-attacks. According to the Cybercrime Magazine, 60% of small businesses that experience a cyber-attack are out of business six months later.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has invested in a pilot program at Dakota State University, called Cyber Safe SD, to help small businesses with cybersecurity. Cyber Safe SD is a comprehensive cybersecurity program for small businesses in South Dakota which includes:

· Pen Tests: to inform the small business of its cyber weakness
· Vulnerability Scans: to inform the business where they are most vulnerable
· Wireless Assessments: to inform the business the impact their wireless network has on their organizations cyber risk
· Cyber Intelligence: to monitor surface and dark-web sites to ensure we have all the intel to properly protect the business
· Risk Assessments: to conduct technology risk assessments for small businesses so they can understand the risk each IT asset introduces to their business
· Phishing and security awareness training available for small businesses: phishing is one of the most-popular ways that bad actors compromise a business, we will help you train and test your employees to ensure they can protect your business
· Security Training: throughout the grant period, Cyber Safe SD will host virtual trainings along with in person trainings around throughout the state· Remediation: through a vendor of your choosing, Cyber Safe SD can help pay for part of your remediation expenses to ensure your business can withstand and weather cyber threats and attacks

Cyber Safe SD is a free program for small businesses in South Dakota. To participate in the program, visit to sign up now (funds are limited). This program is at no cost to SD small businesses, because of a grant from the U.S Small Business Administration. Program Director Ashley Podhradsky and her team of cybersecurity professionals specialize in offensive security assessments, defensive security practices, digital forensics, and cybercrime investigations.

Cyber Safe SD is a partnership between Dakota State University, the Governor’s Office Of Economic Development, the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, the South Dakota Fusion Center, the Consumer Protection in the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, and the Small Business Administration. Together, we work to stop cyber-attacks before they happen.


Kelly Weaver is the Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center in Aberdeen which offers free, confidential business consulting to start up and existing businesses. She can be reached at (605) 698-7654 x 144 or The Center is hosted by GROW South Dakota.