The Cyber Security landscape in VermontCybersecurity in Vermont

By: Justin Fimlaid

Many Vermonters feel protected by our geographic location. We live a quintessential Vermont life style, that’s far enough away major city centers so not to be influenced by from Metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York City, and Montreal.   Because of this many Vermonters have a sense of community and have developed a deep trust for their neighbors. Given our geographical location, some feel isolated and protected from Metropolitan-type problems–one being crime.

Truth of the matter is we’re not immune from physical crime or cyber-crime.

Interstate 89 runs through the middle of Vermont, and I-89 connects a major Canadian City in Montreal to other major US Cities in Boston, New York City and vise-versa. There are known international gangs in major cities just a few hours from the heart of Vermont and most certainly travel I-89 (for what-ever reason) simply as the shortest distance to their Metropolitan destinations.

The risks are even more elevated when we talk about cyber-crime. Vermonters (or anyone else for that matter) are even more exposed–risks aren’t limited to just who happens to be in the same geography, the risk could come from anywhere in the world from anyone who is connected to the internet. When you are connected to the internet, you’re just an IP number. A Vermont IP address might look very similar to a Texas, or Minnesota based IP address and it can be hard to discern who is located where. On the internet geographical boundaries don’t apply and everyone can easily be a target.

When it comes to crime for small business, a “loss” from crime could mean that small business going out of business due to reputation damage or not have the capital reserves to weather the recovery period. Unfortunately many small business are targets because they don’t have the same resources as large companies which to protect themselves. According to the Vermont SBA Business Profile (2011 data) is that 60% (3/5ths) of the State’s private workforce is employed by a small business.  Vermont firms with under a 100 employees represent 43% of the private workforce.

I’m not sure how these numbers compare to other States, but at the end of the day the Vermont economy relies heavily on the success of these business. These business process, transmit, store sensitive data just like their Fortune 500 counterparts but often do so without the same means to secure the same type of data. The risks are high, and the internet delivers all kinds of bad stuff to our doorstep. Cyber security should be taken seriously, and for tips to secure your small business you can find some information here: