Your customers instill a level of trust in you that when purchasing from your business, their information will remain secure. So if data fraud occurs, you may face severe damage to your reputation, as well as your finances. In 2021, the average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million, a 10% increase from 2019. Compromised credentials and personal data contributed to 20% of data breaches, with the top four types of attacks being business email compromise, phishing, malicious insiders and social engineering.1
When dealing with sensitive customer information, the stakes are high. Failing to take proper steps to secure data can cause unprepared small businesses to go bankrupt. Let’s take a look at a few best practices to mitigate fraud and protect sensitive information and your image.
1. Strengthen Your Cybersecurity
- Passwords, two-factor authentication and cybersecurity programs are the front lines of defense against hackers’ malicious attempts. Ensure your program secures your network, as well as all devices that operate on it. Remember to install all updates to your security network immediately to keep your defense as strong as possible and avoid any criminals sneaking through the cracks.
2. Prioritize Necessary Information
- Some companies collect a customer’s credit or debit card numbers, name, address, email and more. However, the more information you collect, the more information you need to safeguard. Stick with the basic data your business needs to run. If you only need certain information temporarily, delete or shred it when you can. Having less confidential information stored in your database can lower the risk of hackers getting their hands on it.
3. Know What You Have
- As your business grows, so does your equipment, including laptops, smartphones and flash drives – possibly all with employee and customer information stored on them. Take inventory of the electronic and physical information you are storing, its location and who is authorized to access it. This can reduce the chances of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
4. Pay With a Business Credit Card
- Cover business expenses with a business credit card. These cards typically include zero-liability fraud protection, the option to limit employee spending, fraud alerts and the ability to dispute necessary transactions without temporarily losing that money. While any payment method has risks, credit cards, especially those for business, include important features and safeguards to keep your company running.
5. Develop a Response Plan
- Worst-case scenarios are often few and far between, but they do happen. How you respond can determine the level of damage. Prepare for a security breach by putting a plan in place to stop hackers in their tracks. If you suspect fraud is occurring:
- Suspend usage of programs and disconnect and power off all compromised devices.
- Consider notifying customers and proper law enforcement agencies of the incident, depending on the data that was stolen.
- Investigate how the incident happened and develop steps you can take to remedy the situation to ensure it does not happen again. This may entail hiring an external agency and conducting internal reviews to determine the root cause.
Discover the benefits and features of our Business Visa® Credit Card and get the purchasing power your business needs to succeed. Then, visit our Security page to learn more about how to protect yourself and your business.
All loans subject to credit approval. This article is for educational purposes only.