A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Preventing Fraud and Data Hacks
By Megan Cooper 1/018/2022
Cybercrime is on the rise, with criminals targeting both individuals and businesses. If you’re a business owner, you want to do all you can to prevent being a victim of a hack, data breach, or similar threat. This is especially true if you’re in an industry that involves handling sensitive information, like mortgages or private lending. In such cases, you’re dealing with delicate details like people’s credit reports and other financial information. You can’t risk a cybercriminal accessing such data. Here are some tips to prevent fraud and data hacks.
Structure how valuable data is accessed and shared
Protecting data starts with handling it appropriately. You want to make sure that computers, phones, and other digital work devices are password protected, for example. Any sensitive documents need to be stored securely, for example, via a cloud storage service. You can password protect individual files by saving them as PDFs. Need to merge PDF files online? A merging tool lets you compile individual pages and move them around as needed. This is also more convenient for searching for paperwork.
Implement protective software tools
There are many types of software you can use to protect your work devices and documents. Start by installing a firewall on your computer if it doesn’t already have one. You should also use a reputable antivirus software and install an anti-spyware tool. Make sure to keep your browsers, apps, and software up-to-date. Failing to install the latest version of a browser can allow for security gaps to remain, for example, since software updates are often issued to address potential problems. Finally, if you have an office WiFi network, make sure that it’s safeguarded with a secure password.
Train employees on security best practices like using strong passwords
Make sure to follow best practices in terms of data security within your mortgage or private lending company. Further, check that your employees are following these best practices too. For example, everyone should encrypt important data and put a password manager in place. When it comes to passwords, make sure to follow best practices. They should be a mix of upper and lower case letters and also include symbols and numbers. Finally, make sure to change passwords regularly. This reduces risk in case of a leak.
Know what to do in case of a hack
Even with the above precautions, data hacks or security leaks can occur. It’s important to know what to do in case disaster strikes. For this reason, make sure you have a plan in place. This guide covers what to do in case of different types of hacks, from ransomware to data breaches, social media account hacks, and more. Writing out a step-by-step plan on what to do in case of these incidents can help you be prepared if you’re in a high-stress situation where you must act fast. Learn how to write a disaster recovery plan.
Seek the help of a security expert if needed
If you lack the skills, time, or confidence to manage your own security issues, ask for help. For example, you can hire a security expert to create your disaster recovery plan for you and check your current systems to see if they are adequately secured against breaches. You can also hire security experts to help clean up after a breach. Pentest Magazine provides tips for hiring a cyber security company, such as asking for referrals, reviewing their testimonials, and requesting a contract with a scope of work before hiring.
If you’re in the mortgage or private lending business, you routinely handle sensitive financial data. Keep your customers and your business safe using the tips and tools above. This will bring all involved peace of mind.
For more content like this, visit the Fraud Stoppers blog
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