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Security is paramount in 2023. In a recent Square survey, nearly 40% of businesses indicated they had been victims of security attacks. Security is a worthwhile investment for all businesses, from small businesses to large enterprises. With the right combination of knowledge, software, and trusted vendors, securing your finances and data may be easier than you realize.
Here’s a closer look at what businesses can do to protect themselves from cybercriminals, fraudsters, and other bad actors looking to take advantage of your business and what successful companies are doing to mitigate these risk factors.
Common Business Risks in 2023
All businesses face some form of risk. In the recent Square survey, 44% of companies indicated they’d experienced financial losses from payment card fraud, followed by data breaches, computer viruses, and phishing schemes. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a brief look at how bad actors utilize these techniques.
- Card fraud: Criminals steal card information to make fraudulent purchases or file fraudulent disputes or chargebacks with their credit or debit card issuer. Fraudulent purchases may be made online or in brick-and-mortar locations.
- Data breaches: Criminals gain unauthorized access to sensitive data to commit identity theft, fraud, or other crimes. While large corporations make headlines when systems are breached, small and mid-sized businesses regularly fall victim to data intrusion attempts.
- Computer viruses: Malicious software programs can damage computers or steal data and spread through email attachments, malicious websites, and infected USB drives. Some ransomware viruses lock all connected computers and systems unless a ransom is paid.
- Phishing schemes: Criminals send fraudulent emails or messages to trick people into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Poorly trained staff members are vulnerable to such schemes.
It is important to be aware of these types of cybercrime and take steps to protect yourself. Following cybersecurity best practices and training your team to be aware of cyber threats can help you stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Critical Security Steps You Can Implement
Businesses can take several critical security steps to protect themselves from financial and data risks. In many situations, taking simple steps to protect your business is enough to deter cybercriminals. If they run into resistance, they may quickly move on to an easier target rather than focus on your business.
To protect your digital assets, start by taking basic recommended steps. These include enforcing strong and secure passwords and multifactor authentication for your entire team, including contractors and vendors with access to your business systems. Ensure that antivirus and firewall software is installed and properly configured and that all software is up to date on all devices.
Next, take the time to train employees on common digital security and fraud threats. For example, a training session on phishing schemes can help your employees understand how criminals trick people into handing over sensitive information.
Finally, it is imperative for businesses to select vendors who have a strong focus on security. For example, when working with Square for payment processing, PCI compliance is already handled, thus removing one security task from the business’s plate. Conversely, if you choose a vendor who doesn’t prioritize security, your business and customer data could be at risk.
Costs of Security Breaches and Theft
In the Square survey, respondents most commonly indicated that their companies spent $1,000 to $5,000 per year on security software; some spent over $10,000 yearly. But compared to the cost of a major security incident, that’s a relatively small investment.
Two-thirds of companies dealt with PCI compliance losses with an average cost of $500 to $10,000 per incident. When a business falls victim to a ransomware virus, the company may be unable to sell any goods or services, with losses piling up hourly.
The costs of security breaches and theft can be significant financially and reputationally, including:
- The cost of lost or stolen data
- The cost of repairing or replacing damaged systems
- The cost of legal fees
- The cost of customer refunds or compensation
- The cost of damage to your reputation
Depending on the business, a single incident could be enough to put the company out of business. But when the right deterrents and protections are in place, business can go on as usual with far less risk of fraud and security intrusions.
An Investment in Security Can Boost Your Bottom Line
Investing in security can lead to cost savings in the long term. By protecting your business from security risks, you can avoid the costs associated with breaches and theft. A strong security posture can also help to attract customers and partners, boosting your bottom line.
To learn more about protecting your business from common risks and how your peers are working to keep their businesses safe, download the Square 2023 Security Survey Report.