All too often these days, small businesses are targeted by predators in the form of fraud or data breaches. It can happen to anyone, as hackers are increasingly sophisticated, and it only takes one vengeful employee to derail your company. Here’s how to get things back on track if your company falls victim to a data breach or fraudulent activity.
Small businesses and big problems
When you’re a small business owner, resources are typically limited, and with a smaller organization, scoundrels look for opportunities to prey on whatever opening they can find. According to Journal of Accounting, some recent statistics indicate businesses with under 100 employees suffer a median loss of $200,000 annually due to crooks from inside or outside their organization, which is almost twice the median loss of $104,000 seen at companies of 100 employees or more. Other research shows crime from within the workplace costs American small businesses $50 billion every year, sometimes in the form of stolen goods, but often in the form of cybersecurity and fraud. Inc. explains while small businesses used to be virtually immune from hackers thanks to relatively limited funds and lack of notoriety, they are targeted now more than ever. Weaker security measures guarding sensitive data is drawing cybercriminals, from both inside and outside company walls.
Finding guilty parties
If you suspect your company has fallen victim, or you have evidence of an issue, finding and exposing the guilty party can be a tricky task. At the same time, it’s crucial to not only put out the fire but also keep damage to data and other resources to a minimum. Employing digital forensic specialists can be your key to turning things around. Experts like Secure Forensics can potentially nail down the party responsible for your trouble, and they can search out information necessary for success in civil and criminal court. On top of that, you can quickly and effectively staunch the flow of trouble by identifying the security breach and resolving the problem.
Restoring your reputation
Unfortunately, even after catching guilty parties and ensuring better security, oftentimes small business owners experience another kind of ramification stemming from their situation. When word gets out there was a problem, customers, associates, and stakeholders can lose faith in your business. When your reputation is damaged from fraud or a security breach, CBiz suggests taking steps to restore your business’ image as quickly as possible. Start by owning the issue, clarifying the stance you are taking, and being candid regarding details of when the trouble was discovered and what you are doing to facilitate recovery. Explaining you hired an external team for investigation goes a long way toward separating yourself from the perpetrators, as it signals innocence on your part as well as your commitment toward resolving the concern. Then document the findings and follow through on making changes to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again.
Raising the bar
Investing in security measures is not a luxury for small business owners, and upping your standards can mean avoiding future trouble and restoring outsiders’ faith in your organization. If you haven’t already done so, make the cloud your storage tool for data. While it can feel uncomfortable not to keep everything onsite, there is a plethora of advantages to be gained from the cloud. Small business owners are alleviated the task of making updates to their software, or paying someone else to do so, since security patches can be downloaded and applied automatically. It also can mean less investment in hardware and the freedom to make your business more mobile. There are several cloud storage options out there, depending on your specific needs and budget. It’s also important to address and maintain network security, especially in the way of firewalls. Update your small business’ firewalls every three to four years for best results.
Many small businesses become prey to scams and hackers. If your company is victimized, take steps to resolve the issue. Address the troublemakers, protect your reputation, and find ways to prevent future problems. With some smart strategies in place, your business can successfully recover and get right back on track.