Tag Archives: Small Business

Scams and Fraud: How Business Owners Can Avoid All Forms of Attack

Today’s guest post was submitted by Dean Burgess from Exitepreneur. Thanks, Dean!

Scams and fraud perpetrated by thieves who want to gain access to a company’s data or content cause millions of dollars of loss each year for businesses large and small. Sadly, no matter how many precautions you take against it, it’s likely that you’ll face some form of theft over the course of your company’s lifetime. With advances in technology happening every day, scammers have many more tools than they used to, making access to your computers and payment systems much easier. When this happens, private and sensitive data can be breached, leaving you responsible for large sums of money and breaking the trust you’ve built with your client base.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid some of these scams and ways you can protect yourself against being hit again if you’ve already suffered an attack. It’s important to take a look at the way your company does business, and that includes determining who has access to sensitive materials such as credit card numbers and email passwords. Even if an employee isn’t purposely being dishonest, they may be playing an unsuspecting role in allowing others to gain unrestricted access to your system and data.

To keep your company and customers safe, here are a few things to consider.

When Phishing Results in a Big Loss

Phishing scams, which are perpetrated by email and used by scammers to gain information about a business that they can exploit, can result in huge losses. Unfortunately, if your company is a small one, this can mean big trouble. If you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam, it’s a good idea to go with a professional tech support company like Secure Data Recovery to help you recover that data. This is the best option when you need to get back up and running in a short amount of time. When your business is small, that time can be crucial to minimizing loss.

Train Your Employees

It’s imperative to make sure that your employees are well-trained and thoroughly understand how to spot a scam, especially the employees who have access to your company’s email address. These emails can be difficult to spy if you aren’t sure what to look for, so it’s a good idea to make sure your business email is with a reputable and secure provider. This way, many of these email scams will be caught before you ever see them. Of course, they can still get through, so teaching your employees what to look for will be essential. Grammatical and spelling errors are a major red flag, as are emails that are not specifically addressed to someone at the business.

Stay Up on the Trends

There are always new and inventive scams making their way around the web, and for this year, the ones to look out for include emails informing you that a certain account has had a suspicious login or that your account has expired. When you click the link they provide, you’re actually taken to a faux page that records your information. You should also be on the lookout for text messages and messages within apps; fraud can occur here, too.

Don’t Be Intimidated

One common form of fraud that many business owners have faced recently is an email or visit from a pushy salesperson who insists that someone from the company ordered supplies that must be paid for. Some will call a company claiming to be with Google and try to intimidate an employee into sending them payment in order to have the company show up in searches. Don’t let these scammers intimidate you! Train your employees to recognize a fraudulent claim, and let them know what to do in the event that they are the victim of one.

Scams and fraud are more common than many business owners may know, so it’s important to remember that just because you haven’t been hit before is not a guarantee that you never will be the victim of a crime. Training your employees well and taking precautions will help you keep your company — and your clients and customers — safe.

Affordable Cybersecurity Practices for Small Business

Today’s blog post is a guest post by Lindsey Weiss from Outbounding.com. Thanks Lindsey!

Data privacy has become a huge concern for business owners small and large in recent years. Even with a growing emphasis on data protection, the number of exposed records continues to rise. In fact, 2018 saw 446.5 million exposed records, an enormous jump from the approximately 197.6 million records exposed throughout 2017.

Data privacy has become a huge concern for business owners small and large in recent years. Even with a growing emphasis on data protection, the number of exposed records continues to rise. In fact, 2018 saw 446.5 million exposed records, an enormous jump from the approximately 197.6 million records exposed throughout 2017.

Enterprises are taking significant steps to protect their data, but small businesses have been slower to catch up — only 14 percent of small businesses are highly confident in their cybersecurity. Because breaches targeting large enterprises are the ones that generally receive the most coverage, small business owners make the faulty assumption that they’re less vulnerable to a cyber attack. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth: 43 percent of all cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses.

If you store customer data, including credit card data, email addresses, billing addresses, and phone numbers, your business needs to be concerned about cybersecurity. Even if you don’t store customer data, data security should be on your radar: If a malicious actor injects ransomware into your system, you could be charged a ransom just to resume operations.

Protecting yourself against data breaches doesn’t require an enormous financial investment. There are many cost-effective ways small businesses can guard their data.

Train Employees to Recognize Social Engineering

Employee training offers the best ROI when it comes to small business data protection. That’s because employee and contractor negligence is behind nearly half of all data breaches. If an employee unwittingly clicks on a malicious attachment or shares passwords or files with a cybercriminal posing as a colleague, the integrity of your business is compromised. Social engineering attacks are constantly evolving, so business owners and managers should stay abreast of the most frequently used techniques and train employees how to recognize attacks and avoid falling victim. A few minutes of research and a meeting with your staff could save thousands in data breach recovery costs.

Step Up Your Password Policy

Are your employees using weak passwords like their birthdates, or worse, “123456” or “password”? If you reflexively answered “no,” ask yourself how confident you really are that your staff is using passwords that can’t be cracked. A strong password policy doesn’t simply require a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. Rather, it obligates users to create complex passwords that expire on a predetermined schedule, don’t employ common words, and are never used for multiple accounts. If you don’t want to babysit your employees’ password practices, consider using a password manager.

Keep Firewalls and Antivirus Current

Firewall protection prevents malicious actors from entering your system, whereas antivirus and anti-malware software detects and removes threats. These security solutions make up the foundation of any network’s data protection, but too often business owners let them fall out of date. Firewall and antivirus software providers regularly release updates to block new types of malware, but if you don’t update your software, your systems aren’t protected.

Backup Your Data, Then Back It Up Again

If your data is held ransom, will your business be forced to shut down? Data backups keep your business up and running when data is compromised due to a data breach, natural disaster, or another threat. A basic backup strategy for small businesses is a 3-2-1 backup. The 3-2-1 rule dictates that you keep three copies of your data (including the primary copy) and use two different mediums to store them, with one backup stored off-site. Many small businesses accomplish this by storing one backup on an on-site external hard drive and a second backup in the cloud. Both backups must be updated regularly to preserve data integrity.

These steps greatly reduce the risk to your small business’s data, but they don’t eliminate it. If you are the target of a data breach, make sure you take the appropriate steps to recover. Dealing with the fallout from a data breach isn’t pleasant, but addressing it is necessary for the continued success of your small business.

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