Many small businesses are dependent on the internet for daily operations but don’t have a network security plan in place. If your business uses a network for daily operations, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to secure your information and equipment.
It’s also important to thoroughly review account activity for corporate credit cards and financial accounts.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “one of the most frequent sources of fraud is credit card abuse – largely due to the fact that few business owners actually take the time to go through every line item on their bill or choose to mingle business and personal accounts.”
Be sure to regularly review activity in Online Banking and on monthly and/or quarterly statements for anything suspicious.
SBA.gov says you can also stay vigilant by “separating your personal banking and credit cards from your business accounts – this will ensure fraudsters don’t get their hands on ALL your money. Separating your accounts will also make it easier to track your business expenses and report deductions on your tax return.”
To help keep your business more secure against cyber attacks, consider these six simple steps:
- Back up your files – Consider investing in a local hard drive and/or cloud software to back up your files and important business documents. That way, whether your files are stolen, corrupted or your physical device is destroyed, you’ll have recent copies of everything saved in another safe location.
- Secure your hardware – Physically lock down your computers. Most laptop and desktop devices have a Kensington lock port (the small metal loop), so feed a cable through that and secure it to your desk.
- Stay on a secure network – Make sure your internet connection is password protected, and don’t access your business files on a shared wi-fi network that you provide for your customers. Keep that separate in case hackers try to spy on your activity from right under your nose.
- Install anti-malware and anti-virus protection – Load anti-malware and anti-virus protection on your machines, and be sure you’re always running the latest software updates to protect against any known vulnerabilities.
- Educate your employees – Make sure your employees are all vigilant in keeping your network safe. If a computer on your network becomes compromised — whether the intrusion came from an internal fantasy-football email or through a nefarious Facebook app — your entire operation is at risk.
- Hire security – Outsource security jobs to an internet-based data-security vendor. However, read the vendor’s terms and conditions to determine who is actually responsible for protecting your data.
Have you already been hacked?
If you’ve noticed a charge or transfer going to an account somewhere that you don’t recognize, contact you financial institution immediately. (If your business account is with Clearview, you can contact our Business Development Department at 412-507-5174 or 1-800-926-0003.) The sooner you discover the incident, the less the damages will actually be.
Were your company’s computers stolen or tampered with? If so, contact the local police as soon as possible. They can investigate deeper and will contact the appropriate authorities.