Is Your Business Ready For More Clients–and More Risk?

While the holiday season provides a boon to many small businesses, all that hustle and bustle can also give criminals an opportunity to prey on shoppers and business owners.

But there are simple steps you can take to protect your business, not just during the holiday season but throughout the coming year.

1. Make Security a Group Effort

As security risks increase during the holidays, encourage employees to keep an eye out for red flags. Theft, fraud and data breaches can put a serious dent in companies bottom lines, which adversely affect job security and fluidity down the line.

2. Be On The Lookout For Fraud

The holidays can be a prime time for fraudulent transactions because employees may be overwhelmed or under-trained, or both. Train employees to be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Pay attention to suspicious URL addresses, and email attachments.

3. Don’t Invite Hackers In

Insider threats don’t always come from workers with bad intentions. A brief lapse in judgment can wreak havoc on businesses, so always practice being aware of basic security threats. For instance, don’t valet-park your car at the company holiday party with your laptop in the backseat. Don’t store important documents in an unlocked file cabinet or keep your password on a sticky note on your monitor.

And beware of doing business over public Wi-Fi. All transactions, all emails can be easily accessed and tracked through public domain.

4. Use Data-Centric Security

When protecting against data breaches, many businesses don’t realize they’re relying on outdated cybersecurity measures like antivirus or firewall software, only protecting the perimeter of the company’s data. The analogy of digging a deeper moat or building a higher castle wall. Becoming ineffective because every smartphone, every app, is a new penetration through that wall. So, the moat or wall is just full of holes, allowing further breaches. Protect the data itself using data-centric measures like encryption and limiting which employees have access to sensitive data. If you regularly accept mobile payments, consider a payment processing system that offers built-in encryption. Most importantly, don’t let your guard down once the holidays are over. Use the holidays as a great way to take a step back and reevaluate. Security shouldn’t just be the holidays were people are more aware, it should be 365 days a year.