10 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Scammers and Ransomware

As a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges you face is dealing with fraudulent activity and enhancing cybersecurity in your business. Dealing with these two problems seems like too much obligation, and it feels easier to let things be. However, the potential loss is too high, so you’re better off not leaving anything to chance.

Having to deal with overpayment scams, false billing, ransomware, whaling, spearfishing, or some other kind of cyber-attack is a bigger nightmare. It cannot compare to the price of investing in robust security patches and systems.

That said, here are ten ways to help you stay safe from most of these prevalent issues.

1. Educate Yourself and Your Staff On Cybersecurity

As the adage goes, education is power. The tech world evolves daily, so you cannot afford to lag behind. Nowadays, fraudsters are not lazy people who just look for opportunities to take off with anything lying unmanned. They are tech-savvy brains who work hard to find out how businesses are run, their security vulnerabilities, and how to take advantage of them. If they work that hard, you have to be smarter and always stay a few steps ahead of them. Engage in continuous training for everyone within your business.

2. Don’t Compromise on Background Checks When Hiring

Today, depending on details in a job application to assess a potential employee would be a serious mistake. Before welcoming anyone to your payroll, ensure they fit your business culture. It would help to find out how they handled their professional responsibilities in their previous workplaces. Also, you can use Nuwber to verify their real identity and if their profile matches what you find. Several sites like LinkedIn offer professional information, so don’t skip this vital part of the hiring process. Take time to hand-pick employees who will be handling high-value assets or cash. This should also apply to staff with access to or control of sensitive data.

3. Get a Cybersecurity Insurance Cover

Perhaps this sounds like a luxury you can’t afford, but here’s why you should make cybersecurity insurance a must-have. First, the insurance company will provide comprehensive cover based on your needs. Subsequently, if they discover that you are highly vulnerable, their business is at risk. Hence, they will go out of their way to help you evaluate your data and software security. They will also check into potential weaknesses with your integration with third-party businesses such as electronic banking to ensure you’ve got everything correctly. Talk of the enemies to your enemies being your friends; couldn’t be put any better.

4. Invest in Secure Data and IT Infrastructure

In the modern world of cloud computing, you need a serious investment in a reliable firewall coupled with apt software for dealing with viruses and other malware. Your programs as well as spyware and ransomware for your data security, are not exclusive. However, don’t make the grave mistake of depending entirely on cloud-based data storage. Always have an up-to-date offline database for all your programs and files. They safeguard you from having to lock down in case of a cyber-attack. Most importantly, a well-secured offline data bank is your ultimate insurance against data loss in a severe security breach. You can always “go analog” to sustain operations until you’re secured again.

5. Separate Your Money from Your Business

Securing your money is a crucial safety measure. First off, separate personal finances from your business funds by putting them in separate accounts. Keep bank and credit card information from getting into the wrong hands by restricting access to them. You can also limit the number of persons who have clearance to transact on behalf of the business. Forbes magazine advises that you should get a designated device for financial transactions. Have a computer for your financial transactions and nothing more. Also, make it a routine to review your online transactions so that you can catch suspicious activity in time.

6. Embrace a Strict Password Policy

Leaked passcodes are the easiest ways for unauthorized users to access your business systems. You need a strict yet practical password policy that controls access to online platforms and offline systems. A multi-layer approach such as multi-factor authentication and administrative supervision would be instrumental to minimizing breaches and tracking who’s logged in, where, and why.

7. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

Hackers are as dangerous to your wireless network as to your data and systems. An unsecured wireless network can easily compromise all data being shared through it. Likewise, if everyone has access to your Wi-Fi passwords, they can perpetrate data fraud or pose cyber threats to your business. Secure your Wi-Fi network with a secure access protocol, and have a guest access protocol for outsiders. Also, ensure that all your wireless access points are not set in broadcast mode.

8. Implement a Standby Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

The best way to prepare for a disaster is to mitigate its impact. Just like an emergency response protocol, have a plan for what you’d do in case of a cyber-attack or detecting fraudulent activity. Have standby contacts and an immediate response protocol.

9. Get an Enterprise Fraud Management (EFM) System

Fraud management systems are real-time monitors for internally and externally initiated activities that could lead to fraud. They help you stay on top of accounts, users, and channels. You need a solution that integrates seamlessly with your business, offers an efficient solution and fits within your budget.

10.   Restrict Access Control

To keep fraud and cyber-attacks at their lowest, you need to know exactly who has access to what and where, and how they do it. Granting unnecessary or unmonitored access to staff members makes it difficult to track security breaches or data theft sources. You can always use multi-level clearance for censored access to sensitive data and system control.

Conclusion

Protecting your small business from the unlimited risk factors of cybersecurity and fraud shouldn’t be daunting or too expensive for you. It could mean taking simple measures such as adding spam filters to your email and other communication channels. On the other hand, this can mean something more technical, like getting an insurance policy. Whatever it is, nothing is too much regarding security and data protection.

10 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Scammers and Ransomware was last updated July 17th, 2022 by Katherine Williams