How to keep hackers away from your financial accounts
A company’s financial accounts are paramount: they show the company’s health, they store necessary data for investors, they might be checked by tax authorities, and they are necessary for the owner/manager to make informed business decisions. The integrity and safety of financial accounts are vital for the success of a company.
If financial accounts are unceremoniously leaked, it will not only badly damage the image of your company, it might even open you up for lawsuits if you haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect and secure your company’s information from security attacks.
On the other hand, if hackers decide to tamper and mess with the financial accounts of your company, and you don’t have all the data backed up in other places, it will cause your company a major headache. The best-case scenario is being able to recreate your financial accounts by spending tens of employee hours and thousands of dollars, and the worst-case scenario is having incomplete financial accounts that will open up a slew of legal and operations problems for your business.
If all of the above doesn’t convince you how important financial accounts are for a company, maybe these figures will: 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses with less than a fraction being prepared for them. Businesses lose 200 thousand dollars on average from cyberattacks.
Your business should take steps to ensure they are properly secured and protected from security threats. In this article, we’ll go over some of the main ways a business owner/manager can do that.
Train your team in basic cybersecurity
When people hear the word ‘hacking’, they usually imagine people in smoke-filled rooms looking at multiple monitors trying to find some exploit in some obscure piece of code. That’s far from the way the typical small and medium-sized enterprises are attacked.
The typical way hackers succeed is by taking advantage of a company’s employees’ cybersecurity illiteracy and extracting vital information like company logins, database access, and more through phishing, fake calls, crossing referencing passwords with leaked databases, etc. In most businesses, once a hacker successfully gets access to one of the employees’ logins, they can freely access the company database, the paystub template, critical emails, and more.
Basic training in cybersecurity for employees is a must for most companies, especially crucial employees that handle sensitive information in the company. Your accountant, middle managers, and database managers all need to have a basic understanding of hacking, cybersecurity, and the steps they need to take to protect themselves and your company from hacking.
Create cybersecurity protocols for your business
Cybersecurity protocols are sets of procedures that a company mandates to protect itself from security risks and attacks. Hacking is usually the result of systemic flaws in a company’s approach to security, and it can only be properly dealt with through systemic approaches.
Here are some of the common and easy cybersecurity protocols businesses implement to protect themselves:
Mandate unique passwords
This might seem like a minor step, but according to a 2020 report by Verizon, more than 4 in 5 breaches happen due to weak or stolen passwords. People usually use the same password on all their platforms, and hackers realize that.
When database breaches on popular platforms happen and passwords are leaked, hackers build databases and try to see if a leaked password is used on other common platforms used by the individual (namely, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), and once they get access to the person’s email, it is over.
That’s why companies must mandate their employees use unique passwords for all their accounts with the business. It is a simple yet very effective way to keep a company secure.
Role-based access control
In the first section, we talked about how hackers gaining access to an account of any of the company’s employees would likely give them access to most of the company’s vital information. This is certainly true for most businesses, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Role-based access control is a cybersecurity approach that restricts access to a company’s information on a “need to know” basis. Each role in your company will have a corresponding role in your company’s digital space that only allows them to access information relevant to their job. An accountant doesn’t need access to personal information about a company’s clients, while a clerk doesn’t need access to the company’s macro-financial records. Yet, sadly, in most businesses, an accountant can easily access client information and a clerk can easily access financial information.
By implementing role-based access control in your company, even if an employee’s account gets compromised, most of your company’s data remains safe and secure.
Make use of security tools
Hacking costs businesses around a trillion a year — it is a well-known problem that faces businesses of all sizes and shapes. Demand for solutions has incentivized many to rise to the challenge and create a plethora of tools and features businesses can use to improve their security.
There are many tools out there that can be very potent in protecting businesses from cyberattacks:
- Some tools allow a business to use two-factor authentication and force employees to change passwords periodically. This substantially reduces the chances of employees’ accounts being compromised.
- Some tools allow a business to encrypt and backup crucial company data (both locally and on the cloud). This almost guarantees that the company’s data will remain intact even in the face of potent cyberattacks.
- Some tools allow a business to properly encrypt communication between team members. This prevents hackers from picking up sensitive information that can compromise the company by snooping on its network.
These are just some prominent examples of what security tools can help you achieve. A company manager needs to pinpoint security weak points in the company’s digital presence and search for tools that can help ameliorate the situation. Chances are that there’s a trustworthy, reputable company that already has tools for the job.