3 unexpected risks that your small business might not be ready for
Being master-of-everything is a role most small business owners perform daily and that includes setting up security measures to protect your business. Reviewing and preparing security measures on a regular basis is a great habit since fraud remains an ever present part of society. According to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report, half of small businesses in the United States have been breached. You read that correctly. Half of small businesses have been breached. There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S which means roughly 14 million have been hacked. For those small business owners who are not security experts, it’s helpful to learn about a few of the most common risks and the steps you can take to address them.
1. Employee theft
Every year, $50 billion is stolen by employees. Did you know that 33 percent of businesses actually go out of business because of this issue? Theft is a serious issue and while you can’t control the behavior of others, as much as you might want to, there are some ways that you can protect your business.
- Supervising employees closely is one of the best ways to protect your business. Be aware of someone’s behavior shifting dramatically as it can be a warning signal. Having an informal chat is a good way to gage whether the behavior shift is related to home difficulties or perhaps something more serious.
- Another way you can protect your business is to have built in checks and balances. Be leery of giving one person too much control and consider having multiple reviewers for your finances. Having a formalized review of the financials will deter fraud as well as help catch any honest mistakes.
- Protect your systems. Be sure to limit access to sensitive areas of your network. Access should be given in accordance with role performance to limit access and the possibility of temptation.
2. Social engineering
Social engineering is the art of manipulating others in order to gain their confidence and obtain access to private information. A well-known movie demonstrated this perfectly. Catch Me If You Can is a genius example of one man’s ability to move about the world relying solely on his charm and gaining the trust of others.
While your business may not be targeted in this exact manner, social engineering also extends its reach online. A more common way you may have seen this demonstrated is through email. Have you ever gotten an email that appears to be from a friend and all it contains is some short language and a link? This form of social engineering accounts for 77 percent of social attacks.
This may be one of the harder security risks to train employees to recognize. Anyone can be caught on a bad day and succumb to their desire to trust. A regular reminder and training for employees is good practice to limit this threat.
3. Data breach
The beginning of this article highlighted that half of small businesses in the United States have been breached. Many small business owners tend to think that they are too small to be a target but this statistic shows us that hackers have the opposite viewpoint. They may view small businesses as easier to hack because they are small and may not have the proper security measures in place.
There are over 4,000 cyber-attacks each day. That means that reinforcing security measures and teaching employees to never open links unless they are in an expected email cannot be stressed enough. Protecting your data from hackers is important for your bottom line. The fines and penalties associated with a breach are expensive and a loss of consumer trust in your business can be even more costly. Vantiv research shows that 45 percent of consumers are aware of merchant data breaches. And while it’s not impossible to restore trust, it’s a feat you’d rather not have to accomplish.
Secure payment processing requires a lot of expertise in security that your payment processing partner should provide. Make sure your processor can help you secure your systems and provide you with the tools you need to avoid the potentially devastating effects of employee theft, social engineering, and data breach.
Are you still looking to understand more about payment security and protecting your business? Read more here.