Protecting Your Business from Fraud

There is a misconception that fraud is something that only happens to large businesses. This is not the case. In fact, fraud is a growing risk for businesses of all sizes. There are some simple steps you can take, however, to protect your business from fraud.

Make Sure Your Employees Understand the Risks

Your employees present the biggest risk to your business when it comes to fraud. In almost all situations, employees don’t mean to expose your business to risk, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Here are some of the ways your employees can put your business at risk of fraud:

  • Phishing – in most situations, hackers gain access to systems and data because an authorised person inadvertently gives it to them, such as one of your employees.
  • Using insecure passwords – most people, including your employees, choose passwords that are easy to remember. Just about every password that is easy to remember, however unusual it is, is guessable.
  • Using repeated passwords – many people use the same passwords in work as they do for personal accounts. So, for example, an employee might use the same password on their work email as they do on their personal email. If the password on the personal email becomes compromised, your business is compromised too.
  • Sharing passwords – employees should never share passwords with each other or with third parties.
  • Clicking on unknown links – this includes unknown links in emails, on websites, and on social media. It also includes unknown attachments in emails.

The way to address these risky practices is to educate employees about the risks and what they can do to mitigate them.

Check Physical and Digital Security

Another step you should take to protect your business from fraud is to check your physical and digital security. Here are some examples of risky security practices that could put your business at risk of fraud:

  • Leaving computers with access to sensitive data switched on and logged in when unattended
  • Storing sensitive data on servers that are not secure
  • Leaving removable storage devices containing sensitive data lying around and/or not encrypting those devices
  • Failing to lock filing cabinets and/or offices that contain sensitive information

Backup Your Data

This is good business practice but backing up your data can also protect you from a particular type of fraudulent attack that has become scarily popular with hackers – ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks involve bribery rather than hackers gaining access to your systems to steal. They typically do this by tricking someone in your company to click on a link or email attachment which downloads malicious code onto your system.

When this code activates, it locks down your system, preventing you from being able to access anything. You will then receive a ransom message asking for payment within a short deadline or your data will be completely deleted.

There are two things that make this hacking tactic effective:

  1. The hackers ask for relatively small amounts of money – hundreds of euros in most cases rather than thousands
  2. If you don’t have a backup of your data, your choice is often to pay or risk the hacker following through on the threat of wiping your system

If you have a backup, however, you can restore your system to a point before it became infected with the malicious code.

Please contact Gilroy Gannon today if you need any other help or advice with your business.

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