Wondering how to protect your business at all stages? In this article, we’ll share seven ways in which you can protect your small business from fraud…
In the UK there are a staggering 5.5 million small businesses and companies which are categorised as ‘small’ by having less than 50 employees. Unfortunately, a lot of these businesses are run on a shoestring budget. So, many sacrifice security, leaving themselves open to cyberattack and fraud.
At any given time, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has around 60 open cases relating to serious fraud investigations. This is something which can be devastating to a small business. Keep reading for seven ways in which you can protect your small business from fraud…
7 tips to protect your small business from fraud
1. Keep company credit cards separate from personal
It’s common for employees of small businesses to hold company credit cards in order to more efficiently manage expenses. While this is a convenient method of making payments, it can also put the company at risk of fraud.
Business owners should always keep their personal and company credit separate. What’s more, employees should only use their cards to pay for goods or services with reputable businesses.
Where possible, it’s a good idea to check credit card statements each week in order to spot any suspicious activity.
2. Use one device for banking
It can be a good idea, for better security, to just use one dedicated computer or laptop for all of your banking and financial transactions. If you use just one device, then ensure that this device is never used for web surfing, email, or social media. All of these things can, unfortunately, introduce malware into the computer and provide an open door for cybercriminals.
3. Have more than one password access
If you own a small business, you’ll almost certainly ensure that your employees use passwords for their computers and for networks within the company. However, this isn’t always enough.
Where possible, it’s a good idea to implement a multilayered security system. For example, if possible, have a password and fingerprint access in order to supersize your security.
You should also insist that your employees use complex passwords which include letters, numbers, and special characters such as asterisks. Finally, make sure that passwords are changed regularly; at least every 60 days is recommended.
4. Invest in better firewall protection
One of the most important things you can do to protect your small business is to invest in security for your IT infrastructure. At the moment, you’ll almost certainly have a firewall for your systems (you do have a firewall, right?) but this isn’t always enough by itself.
You’ll also want to invest in further security, including spyware, anti-virus software and malware protection to make sure that your systems are locked up tight. Software such as these are often relatively inexpensive, particularly in comparison to what you may lose if you don’t have proper safety protocols in place.
5. Do background checks on employees
In many cases, small business fraud is committed by company employees, often those who are entrusted with your company’s security. You can protect your business against these interlopers by making sure that you carry out proper background checks when hiring staff.
While a background check won’t prevent your employee going rogue in the future, it will give you a snapshot of their previous employment. It will also inform you as to whether they have any criminal convictions which may be considered red flags.
You can also limit risk by only allowing access to sensitive and financial systems to trusted, key employees.
6. Educate staff on security measures
Protecting your small business from fraud is not something you should have to do alone. Make sure that you educate your employees on how to keep systems and networks safe, and put comprehensive policies in place to make sure that this becomes an integral part of your company’s ethos.
Giving your employees responsibility and ownership when it comes to your security is absolutely key, so education and training in security systems is essential.
7. Make sure your insurance covers cyberattacks
Our final point – one which we can’t stress enough – is that of insurance. Even if you have taken heed of all of the other points in this article, there is still a chance that an industrious fraudster will manage to dodge all of your safety measures.
Because of this, you really need to make sure that you have a business insurance policy which will cover your losses should your company become a victim of fraud. If you’re unsure as to whether your current insurance covers cyberattacks and fraud, it’s a good idea to check this out and upgrade your policies where necessary.
Cover all security bases when it comes to business fraud
As our technology advances at breakneck speed, it improves our business efficiency and profitability. However, it also provides new weapons for fraudsters and cybercriminals, many of whom make it their mission to learn how to use the power of technology for evil rather than good.
The UK loses a whopping £1.3 billion every year to cybercrime and fraud, and although many of these criminals are caught and arrested, many more are still out there doing their dastardly deeds. For this reason, businesses need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to protecting their assets and their computer systems and should be placing responsibility firmly on their employees’ shoulders.
As well as putting proper up to date measures in place, having a comprehensive insurance policy which includes these crimes will help to make sure that you don’t lose everything should your business fall victim to fraud.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained fraud professional. Be sure to consult a fraud professional if you’re seeking advice around protecting your business from fraud. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.