Fraud Prevention for Your Small Business
By Jeff Weeks, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer
Cybersecurity isn’t new, but the tools of cybercriminals evolve at astounding speeds. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 2022 was a record-breaking year for data breaches with 1,300 data compromises impacting over 160 million victims before November.
The effects of data breaches are wide-reaching. As a victim, you can lose access to sensitive customer data or other company assets, but the biggest cost is losing the faith of your customers. These financial and reputational losses can be detrimental for businesses that don’t have a plan in place.
Many data breaches are linked to identity theft attacks that target employees. Hackers reverse engineer data to build trust with victims and use stolen ID proof to impersonate CEOs or other colleagues to convince victims to share sensitive details. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their approaches, it’s important for business owners and their employees to understand the nuances of cyberattacks and how to defend their organizations. Luckily, there are strategies you can put in place to help protect your business and contain cybercriminals.
Conduct Regular Security Audits
Regular security audits are crucial for your cybersecurity strategy. These audits can help your business identify vulnerabilities and technical loopholes in your digital infrastructure. Regularly conducting audits can help you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals and help close loopholes before they can be exploited.
Security audits should be performed by a qualified cybersecurity professional with experience in identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks and should be conducted at least once a year to help identify and address new vulnerabilities.
Train Your Employees
Your employees are the first line of defense against cyberattacks. Hackers often target employees because they hold the keys to your business data. For this reason, it's essential to train your employees to address security issues such as stopping spam emails or removing their personal information from the internet.
Training should be provided regularly to keep employees up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Training should cover topics such as how to create strong passwords, how to identify phishing emails and how to securely store sensitive information.
Implement Roles and Privileges
Implementing roles and privileges is an essential step in protecting your business from data breaches. Not all employees should have access to all data and technology at your organization. For example, your accountant should not have access to your social media account, and your content writing intern should not have access to your website hosting provider.
Limiting access to sensitive data and critical systems can help reduce the risk of data breaches caused by human error or malicious intent.
Use a Theft Protection Service
Using a theft protection service can be a cost-effective way to monitor your digital assets and protect your business from data breaches. These services scan the dark web and public domains 24/7 to monitor and analyze fraud attempts. They can also provide real-time alerts if they detect any suspicious activity related to your digital assets.
These types of services are becoming increasingly common and affordable, making them a viable option for businesses of all sizes, and allowing companies to proactively monitor digital assets and respond quickly to potential security threats.
Data breaches and cyberattacks can have long-lasting effects on your small businesses by costing you time and money and damaging your brand reputation. It’s important to take proactive steps now to help prevent cybercrime, fraud and other financial crimes.
You can learn additional tips to protect your business by visiting the FNBO Security Center.
About the Author
Jeff has been with First National Bank of Omaha for more than 20 years and is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer. The executive leadership and oversight provided by Jeff in the development, management and execution of information security for FNBO enables the company’s ability to posture and protect private, personal information, and assets of the company’s clients, employees and business partners.
The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.