Best practices for keeping your company’s financial information safe
Today’s small business owners have access to new ways of securing information, thanks to advances in technology and cybersecurity. There are many options to improve your business and increase network security simply by leveraging the use of new policies, procedures and technologies. Businesses must put a concerted focus on cybersecurity to ensure breaches don’t happen.
Because let’s face it, as a small business owner, you’ve worked hard to set up your business and turn a profit. You’ve put the time into creating a successful business, the last thing you want is to see a hacker run off with sensitive business financial information. Could you imagine if a nefarious actor got access to your business checking accounts? Part of creating (and keeping) a successful business also means creating and executing a cybersecurity plan that keeps all your data safe from hackers and unscrupulous software gurus.
The problem is that small businesses are far too often unprotected. Small businesses are a tempting target for hackers because they often don’t have the resources to invest in the kind of rigorous cybersecurity programs employed by companies much larger than they are. Where can this be a bigger problem? Imagine if a small business is contracted to a bigger business but does not have appropriate cybersecurity. Hackers sometimes attempt to hack the smaller business to get data from the bigger company. Examples of this can be found going back many years. It’s far easier for hackers to tap into unsecured systems to obtain the larger prize.
What can you do?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a business owner to ensure your network is secure and your data safe. Your first step should be to create a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. Having a policy like this will ensure you know exactly what data you are collecting and where it is going. How do you store and protect it? All of this should be outlined in your cybersecurity policy. Your security policy should make clear that your company takes data privacy and security seriously and that you have systems in place to ensure any collected data is safe from hackers.
Small businesses should invest in a total encryption solution for all communications between employees and data storage. The migration to the cloud has lowered entry costs for a turnkey cybersecurity solution. The key is to partner vendor that offers an encryption solution that you can customize for your particular organization. Any security updates should run across the entire platform, ensuring that the same level of security exists across the entire company.
You could create the most comprehensive security strategy ever devised, but if you don’t properly train your employees on effective cybersecurity measures, your strategy is going to fail. Just one phishing email sent to an untrained employee could expose your internal financial data to bad actors. Indeed, just one email with a malicious link could bring your entire system crashing down. Employees are often unwittingly the cause behind security breaches, and it is key that small businesses educate their employees every year on what to look for from phishing scams and hackers.
The fact is this, phishers and hackers are getting much more sophisticated. New hacking tools have opened the window to even more sophisticated hacking attempts. These attempts often involve tricking employees with links to sites that look almost exactly like the legitimate versions but will capture vital information to allow them to hack into your systems. Fully reproduced websites are just one example of new techniques.
Pick the right partner
Your company’s data may be safe when it’s with you, but what about when you send it to a partner? After all, you will need to communicate with outside vendors and send your data to third parties. Will it be safe? Ask your partners and vendors about their cybersecurity and privacy policies before you release your information. You need to make sure they are meeting the same standards you hold your company to internally.
Protecting your and your customers’ financial data is a critical cost of doing business. Far too many companies have been hobbled by poor internet security and successful hacking attempts. By investing in a plan and working with partners and qualified professionals, you can ensure your internal network remains secure and hack-free.
At First Utah Bank, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. As Utah’s community bank, we understand the importance of effective cybersecurity. And we want to help our small business banking customers keep their information safe from the bad guys. In the end, we are more than just a provider of business checking, savings, or loan services. We are your partners in smart financial management. Thank you for letting us serve you!