In recent weeks and months, an increasing number of institutions have faced security breaches that resulted in the leak of confidential information belonging to customers. Safety is not only a concern for major companies with broad client bases. Rather, enterprises of every size and structure should be aware of methods which can help boost security. Staff training and development, however, can help prevent some common errors that might make a business more susceptible to issues.
Fraud affects everyone
According to Bank of America, the small business community is not immune from hackers and other fraudulent parties just because of its size. In fact, documented cases have proven that smaller enterprises that are targeted by malevolent individuals or organizations can be devastated because they lack the liquid assets and breadth to absorb or deflect damages.
Take, for instance, the small computer and electronics supplier in California who discovered that hackers created a copycat website of his business. Unbeknownst to the owner, the group had been luring his clients in under the guise of his company, making “sales” and taking payment information without delivering any services.
“It was obviously organized and targeted, with the thieves devoting a considerable amount of time researching this very small business and planning their attack,” Neil O’Farrell, executive director of The Identity Theft Council, told Bank of America. “We still have no idea who was behind the attack and why they picked on this largely unknown business.”
Plan for protection
According to banking experts, although companies may not be able to outsmart every hacker, there are certain precautions that can be taken to prevent vital information from leaking, or any other breach of security. By optimizing employee training programs, companies can encourage best practice and decrease the likelihood of a significant problem occurring in the future.
First, Bank of America recommends making a clear distinction between work and personal technology. When employees or management use professional computers and other digital devices such as tablets for non-work purposes, they run the risk of accidentally downloading spyware, malware, or other harmful software. At the same time, all computers should be set up with anti-viral programs preemptively to avoid external attacks. Changing passwords on a regular basis also decreases the likelihood of a successful attack.
The company detailed above only discovered that they were the victims of fraud following client complaints, but this does not mean businesses have to wait until things get to that point to find out about hacks. Rather, analysts recommend that human resource departments run frequent Internet searches to seek out any copycat companies or posers that could be working under the veil of your enterprise and ruining credibility while acting illegally. Likewise, it’s advisable to review business credit reports frequently, keeping an eye out for any irregularities.
Small businesses do not need to take on all security tasks on their own. Set up the company with a local branch banker who can manage the majority of important corporate matters, and who will be better able to recognize fraudulent activity on the account. Additionally, hire an accountant or bookkeeper with a reliable reputation to lend an extra layer of security.