With new threats emerging and longstanding ones still an issue, it is important to continually protect your business. A 2017 data threat report from Thales e-Security and analyst firm 451 Research reported that 52 percent of merchants have experienced a data breach, with 19 percent of those having a breach in the past year. Corporate account takeovers are one of those threats that remain a cybersecurity concern for small businesses.
In a corporate account takeover, cyber criminals infiltrate a business to gain access to banking accounts, customer information and even employee payroll records. Phishing, malware and system hacking are a few ways hackers target employees to access a company’s internal network. It is common for them to send emails posing as a bank, delivery company, municipal court or even the Better Business Bureau. Once the email is opened, malware is installed on the computer to provide the criminals with access to login credentials and passwords.
Don’t allow your business to become an easy target! One of the easiest methods to protect your company from a cyber-attack is to improve internal security procedures. Here are five tips to keep your small business safe:
Tip #1 – Invest in stronger firewalls and use complex passwords. This gives you more control over the traffic flowing across your business networks. Anti-malware protection is another layer of defense methods worth investing in. Use strong, memorable passwords that are harder to crack. Be sure that each one is unique and change them regularly.
Tip #2 – Educate your employees. They are perhaps your greatest point of vulnerability when it comes to fraud, but they are also your first line of defense. Hold regular training sessions on basic security threats and institute policies that guide employees on the proper use and handling of confidential company information including financial data, personnel and customer information and prevention measures.
Tip #3 – Partner with industry experts. Managing security on your own is near impossible for most merchants, particularly the smaller ones who are most susceptible to attack. Find one who can support you and your business. At the very least, ensure that your security software is always up-to-date on your computers, tablets and phones.
Tip #4 – Watch for suspicious activity. Be aware of unexplained network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. Your anti-virus software should alert you to potential viruses. If you receive a warning message, contact your IT professional immediately. If detected, alert your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
Tip #5 – Know your responsibilities and liabilities. Familiarize yourself with your institution’s online banking agreement. The agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.
It’s important for businesses to realize that investing in security measures is an ongoing task and not a one-time project. Following the latest cybersecurity best practices is the first step in protecting your business, but staying protected means continually updating hardware, software and company-wide data security policies to ensure you, your employees and your customers are always protected.
Lakeland Bank takes cybercrime seriously. Check out our Simply Speaking Blog for other articles to keep your information safe and your business protected.