Ransomware, like the latest WannaCry scam, is in the news lately. Think that ransomware is the only threat to your business data? Think again! Cybercriminals are constantly dreaming up new ways to breach your data security and steal information on you, your business, and your customers.
Business identity theft – a criminal steals a business’s identity and behaves as though they are the business owner to establish fraudulent lines of credit – is becoming commonplace. Data pirates steal entire customer databases in order to get personally identifiable information. And hackers can place code on your website undetected in order to skim credit card information when someone clicks, “Buy It Now.”
Every business is vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if you use Macs or PCs, or if your data is stored in the cloud, on your cell phone, or on a desktop computer. Your business has data, and that data has value.
Therefore, part of your business planning strategy should be a business security plan that covers data privacy, data security, fraud prevention, and identity theft prevention. Some simple steps you can take include:
- Protect your business’s sensitive information, such as bank records and tax returns, by shredding copies of these documents that you do not need, and storing the documents you keep under lock and key.
- Keep electronic documents and data in a secure online repository, and make sure that your data is routinely backed up.
- Keep an inventory of the physical documents on hand to ensure that nothing goes missing.
- Never write down customer credit card information.
- Have a written computer policy for your employees that details what they can and can’t do – from not clicking on phishing emails to where to store documents on the server.
- If you use cloud computing services, look for Verisign, McAffee Secure or Truste security certification.
- Keep passwords confidential and make them strong (using capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols).
- Learn to spot common scams and report them to the FCC and the Attorney General whenever appropriate.
- Don’t download software “updates” from questionable sources. You won’t be alerted by an online pop-up that your malware detection or antivirus software needs to be updated. If you cannot exit out of a suspicious website or popup, close your browser and exit the program.
- Hire IT professionals whenever something suspicious happens. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself, and don’t ever pay criminals holding your data ransom.
- When you terminate employment, immediately disable the former employee’s access to your business information, email, documents, and data.
- If you dissolve your business, be sure to promptly file Articles of Dissolution with the Florida Department of State. To be extra cautious, notify the credit reporting bureaus that you are closing your business and will no longer be applying for credit.
The damage from cybercrime can be devastating to your business. Just the cost to clean up and correct the damage can be hundreds of dollars and hours of lost time. Protect your business with a little tech savvy.