The global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021 according to a Cybersecurity Ventures report. Having a cybersecurity strategy in place is critical for business owners. It is impossible to completely immunize your business against all types of fraud, but there are ways to protect yourself and your assets.
Regions Bank works with many companies to raise awareness and share fraud-prevention information. Jennifer Luster, Treasury Management Relationship Manager for Regions, shares some steps to consider when it comes to cybersecurity:
1. Educate employees on potential cyber threats and scams, raising the level of awareness of all who work for the organization.
Every associate plays a critical part in the success or failure of a business. When it comes to preventing fraud, ensuring associates are aware of how to protect your business minimizes your risk of becoming a victim, which ultimately protects your bottom line.
According to the 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, human mistakes are responsible for nearly 1 in 5 data breaches.
Employees should know which company information can be shared online, especially through email. And employees should not conduct personal business such as using personal social media — or checking their personal email — on a work computer.
Outside email platforms and social media forums introduce cyber risks when employees click on links containing malware, receive SPAM emails or conduct any number of other personal communications on their employer’s networks.
2. Equip all computers associated with the company with anti-virus and anti-malware software, and enroll in automatic updates to always have the latest versions.
Avoid free Wi-Fi when accessing company files. If a public Wi-Fi system has become compromised, it creates an opportunity for a hacker to steal company information and assets. It’s just not worth the risks when you’re dealing with sensitive information. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network when working away from the office, or use a cellphone hotspot for an added layer of security.
3. Require dual authorization — a system where two employees must approve and sign off on a transaction before it can be executed — when it comes to payroll and other financial transactions.
Implement systems such as rotating duties, maintaining dual controls and conducting regular and surprise audits to cut down on the risks of internal fraud.
Check fraud continues to be one of the biggest types of fraud companies experience. Each time a check is issued, the routing and account number, signature and company address are all exposed, increasing the risk of counterfeit checks, altered checks and forgeries. Consider using a check fraud prevention service (often known as Positive Pay) for a layer of protection. Also look for other means of payments to reduce the number of checks you issue.
Jennifer Luster serves as Senior Vice President and Treasury Management Relationship Manager for Regions Bank in Montgomery, Ala. With over 25 years of banking experience, Luster identifies and implements a wide range of strategies to meet clients’ unique needs.
This commentary originally appeared in the Montgomery Business Journal.