While the giant security breaches at places like Equifax make huge headlines, small businesses continue to be under attack as well. Targeted by hackers and scammers of various stripes, these businesses need to arm themselves with preventative measures to make them less likely to fall victim. Here is some advice from your Better Business Bureau for protecting against business scams.
Small business are at a higher risk for cyberattacks than larger companies. Since they have more digital assets to target than an individual would, and usually have less security in place than large companies, they fall into a “sweet spot” for cyber crooks. In fact, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. The results are often calamitous: Over 60 percent of those who suffer cyberattack go out of business within six months.
The constantly evolving techniques of hackers can be frustrating for those who seek to stop them. Certainly there are some basic measures that can work in many cases, though not in all of them. BBB recommends these steps be taken:
• Identify your business’ assets that need protection. This includes customer databases, key data you rely on and any digital devices you use.
• Instigate protective measures like restricting access to sensitive data to only those who need it for their job. Constantly update security software on all devices. Use encryption for sensitive info. Frequently test your backup system. Use care with password policies including frequent changes of all passwords.
• Have measures in place for quick detection of a threat. Speed is of the essence in reducing hacker damage. Train employees in procedures for spotting and alerting of a breach.
• Have an Incidence Response Plan for containing an attack and maintaining operation of your business. Practice using the plan.
• Assess what will be necessary for you to get back to normal business operations after an incident. Be sure steps include ways to protect your business reputation in the long term.
A scam to watch for
The Federal Trade Commission has identified a recurring scam being worked on small businesses. Scammers bank on a communication gap between those who order supplies and those who pay invoices for them at businesses. They send invoices for non-existent supply orders hoping they will slip through the system. Keep these points in mind:
• If your business receives unordered merchandise then the vendor cannot legally collect on it. You can keep it and do not have to even return it.
• Be sure your staff has good communication between whoever orders and who pays for supplies. Scammers sometimes target less experienced staff and volunteers.
Don’t be among the many small businesses that fall victim to widespread business hacking and scamming. If you have questions or concerns regarding protecting your business, contact your Better Business Bureau at 800-856-2417, or visit the website at bbbinc.org.