Small businesses can innocently expose themselves to cybercrime when an employee opens an email that appears to be from the CEO, not updating the anti-virus program or having a laptop lost or stolen.

Eduard Goodman, Chief Privacy Officer for Identity Theft 911 has seen an increase in small businesses being targeted for cybercrime within the last five to seven years. Highly desirable data include customer information lists and personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, dates of birth and account numbers.

A recent survey by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance shows 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a cyber-security breach. Sixty-nine percent rely on Internet security for their business’s success.

Yet, the same survey shows 77 percent don’t have a formal Internet security policy for employees and 49 percent don’t even have an informal policy.

So how can small businesses protect themselves?

Ensuring your business has the latest anti-virus, spyware and firewall programs is one method of protection, according to Goodman. Training on how to recognize phishing emails is essential as fraudsters will send emails from someone like the CEO of a company so employees think they have to open the email.