How to Protect Your Business from Cyberfraud
With so many large data hacks dominating recent headlines; it would be easy to assume that only large corporations are the targets of cybercrime. But even small business owners can fall victim. In order to protect your business and your employees' sensitive data, it's best to be proactive when it comes to preventing fraud. Developing a plan to protect data isn't difficult, but effective security requires ongoing efforts and some initial steps.
Effective Password Protocol
Establish password policies and be diligent about applying them. The best practices for an effective policy include:
- Complex passwords are required, including upper case, numbers and alternate characters.
- Passwords must expire after a set period, such as 60 days, and a new password is required.
- Password reuse is forbidden.
- Failed logins must cause account lockouts.
- Default passwords are forbidden, or they limit computer access.
Firewalls and Malware Protection
A firewall acts as a digital security guard for your computers and Internet connections, sorting through data and websites that are then allowed or refused through data streams. Personal firewalls, such as those included with Windows, have general configurations that protect most users in most situations.
Commercial firewall software offers more elaborate protection and control. Anti-virus and anti-spyware programs can incorporate firewall applications as well as offer specific protections against known viruses and phishing routines.
Business Backups and Updates
Backing up data ensures protection against a security breach. In the past, many backup methods were time-consuming and unreliable, but this is no longer the case. Several affordable options can be used alone or together for greater protection, including:
- Online data storage services such as DropBox, OneDrive and iCloud
- Portable high-capacity hard drives
- Networked data servers
Software, browser and operating system updates frequently address previously unknown security threats. Regularly installing the most recent updates to any program or application that handles financial or other confidential data plugs these potential holes.
Worst Case Cyberfraud Planning
Computers are masters at multitasking, but sometimes the advantages in productivity don't offset the risks to your data. A computer dedicated only to banking tasks — with no email, Internet access or social media activity — makes it harder for a cybercriminal to find his way into the computer. Leading business applications, such as Quicken, provide further security protocols within the software to tighten up security on a shared or dedicated computer.
Carrying business insurance that specifically covers against losses from computer crime can offer peace of mind against risks that even the best cyberfraud prevention efforts can miss. Weigh the cost of premiums against your potential losses if disaster should strike.
- Symantec: New Survey Shows U.S. Small Business Owners Not Concerned About Cybersecurity -- Majority Have No Policies or Contingency Plans
- Software Advice: Best Practices for Workplace Passwords -- IndustryView 2015
- Go Hacking: How Firewalls Work
- Entrepreneur: 11 Ways to Protect Your Business From Cyber Criminals
- Forbes: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Protect Against Cybercrime