« Business Continuity

Keep tabs on employees’ online surfing to avoid possible security breaches

Businesses need to ensure that they not only have adequate firewalls installed on their computer systems, but that employees are trained in proper protocol for using company computers.
Businesses need to ensure that they not only have adequate firewalls installed on their computer systems, but that employees are trained in proper protocol for using company computers.

Preventing employees from accessing certain websites, such as social media or personal email, not only enhances productivity, but it can also keep malicious software – "malware" – from getting into the company system.

According to the New York Times, computer specialists say "corporate account takeover" crimes are becoming more common, and small businesses are easier prey because many lack firewalls and monitoring systems. Gartner, an information technology research company, estimates that more than 10 percent of small businesses have had funds stolen from their bank accounts, with losses totaling more than $2 billion.

Another important key factor to keep in mind is that banks do not take responsibility for unauthorized debits from business accounts – a policy that many do on personal accounts. Unless owners have fraud insurance, they will be shouldering the losses alone.

The April 2012 Update to the Navigant Information Security & Data Breach Report touched on the issue of data breaches and businesses being hacked. Specifically, there was an 88 percent increase in the number of records breached from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011. In addition, 50 percent of hacking incidents targeted corporate entities in Q3, while 67 percent targeted corporate entities in Q4.

"People think, ‘It’ll never happen to me,’ but these are incredibly sophisticated criminals, and we’re not I.T. experts," said Ann Talbot, Golden State Bridge’s chief financial officer. In May 2010, Golden State, an engineering and construction company, had over $125,000 stolen when hackers broke into its bank account.

To help prevent company accounts from being violated, small and large businesses would benefit from pairing with a business continuity consultant. This professional can ensure that companies have proper protocols in place for employees to follow in terms of social media and corporate bank accounts. In addition, they can help businesses prepare a business continuity plan, just in case something does go wrong.