30 Sep Why is Internet Safety More Important Now than Ever?
The issues of fraud and scams are not new to the business community, yet it still hits hard every time. In a 2019 report, unauthorized financial fraud losses in the United Kingdom reached £824.8 million.
It is still considered a huge amount even if banks and card companies were able to prevent £1.8 billion in fraud activities on the same year through early detection and other preventative measures.
Then, the coronavirus pandemic happened, and businesses took the hardest hit with the global economy plummeting to all-time lows due to restrictions in travel and trade.
But to make things worse, coronavirus-related fraud has also plagued businesses since the beginning of the year, adding more burden and losses to entrepreneurs who are barely staying afloat during this time.
According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), there have been 105 reports related to coronavirus fraud from the beginning of February to March with losses amounting to £970,000—and those numbers keep adding up.
Businesses that conduct sales online are especially vulnerable, but with restrictions in place across cities, going online is also the best chance to keep the business going, even if it comes with a higher risk.
Internet safety has always been part and parcel of doing business online, but it matters now more than ever. Here is why:
1. Scammers and hackers are taking advantage of the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been an increasing number of cyber scammers and hackers who are sending fraudulent emails and messages that are related to COVID-19 in an attempt to trick consumers and businesses into opening malicious attachments and links.
A lot of websites are also getting hacked to get personal information from consumers to use in malicious purchases. WHO only has one fundraiser for the pandemic, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund that scammers are also using pretending to be WHO representatives collecting donations from businesses and individuals.
2. A lot of businesses still do not have an Internet security policy in place.
With remote working being the new normal due to the pandemic, it has become more important to have a formal Internet security policy in place for employees to follow.
Unfortunately, 77% of businesses still do not have one, which is why they are more prone to breaches and threats that result to financial losses and worse, closures.
3. There has been an increasing rate of friendly fraud.
With most businesses now forced to operate online, credit cards are now the go-to form of payment. This also means that scammers are taking advantage of committing friendly fraud by ordering items online and asking for a chargeback or refund later claiming that they did not receive the product or that it did not meet their expectations.
For businesses, this can result to bigger losses and higher chargeback rates that are detrimental to their bottom line.
With a looming global economic crisis and the pandemic continuing to spread across the world, here are some ways that you can promote better Internet safety in your business:
1. Know your goals.
Like anything else in your business, it is particularly important to start with a set of goals. What are you trying to protect? Internet security is not only limited to your website but also your software, data, laptops, and mobile phones.
According to Alert Logic cyber-security expert Dan Pitman, you need to do an inventory of the things that you want to protect. “Often an SME’s inventory will only list the computers or devices themselves and not the software that resides on them,” he explained. Make sure that you have an updated inventory of everything digital that is related to your business.
2. Invest in the basics.
Sometimes, it is the most basic measures that give you the best protection for your business. For instance, having a good password manager means that you have one place to store all your passwords securely and where you have control over who can have access to them.
The simple step will not only increase security but also allow your employees to use different passwords for different accounts without worrying that they will forget them.
Experts also recommend doing monthly mini trainings about cyber security instead of a long one because they are easier to digest and remember.
3. Work with your team not against them.
If you are to succeed at protecting your business against cyber threats, especially now that everyone is working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, you must get your team involved in the job.
Conducting a training that allows employees to spot phishing emails, suspicious consumers and other fraudulent activities will allow you to prevent losses and it will also help you make your team better at protecting your company in other forms of Internet threats. It is also important to talk to your team about the challenges they face in following Internet security policies.
For instance, if an employee finds it harder to accomplish tasks because of a certain rule, he will most likely work around it to get things done. So, ask him what the challenge is and find a solution that will make his task easier but also keep your business protected.
4. Always update your software and devices.
There’s good reason software companies offer updates regularly and it is because new threats keep sprouting and you need to keep your safety measures up to date to prevent them. Remember that older tech will have nothing against new viruses and malware so make sure that all your software and devices are updated regularly.
Finally, always have a doomsday plan in place. The reality is: even the most lock tight security measures will be breached at some point because of how scammers continuously evolve in their techniques.
So, when that happens to your business, it’s very important to have a plan in place on how you should address issues to make sure that you incur the least amount of losses.
Invest in strategies that will allow you to salvage and protect data, keep your software safe and ultimately protect your business from fraud and scams online.
Photos by: adidad8, Vecteezy, tandav