Every small business in 2017 has to be aware of the threat of fraud. Official statistics show that fraud happens more often among firms employing fewer than 100 employees – and the losses represent a greater slice of the profits of these organizations.
The type of fraud faced by businesses has changed quite a bit in recent years. A complex array of cybercrimes is now deployed by conmen, whose threat is increasingly digital in its nature.
The first step towards helping your business to stay safe is through awareness. Don’t bury your head in the sand and presume they won’t come after you because you’re not ‘big enough’. Everyone’s a target. It’s time to wise up and defend yourself.
Focus on people
You can have the most robust anti-fraud policy in the world, but you are only ever as safe as the people who work for you and with you. That means taking extra care when recruiting – thoroughly checking all references for example – and trying extra hard to keep hold of employees who you can really trust. It’s important to have a similar level of trust in contractors too – make sure the people you partner up with have a good reputation.
A strong ethos in your company – with people caring about what they do and who they work for – is important too. A determination to stay safe and a desire to protect your workplace is a big help.
Once you have the right people, it’s important to make sure they are properly trained for the task in hand. There are new security threats emerging all the time, so it keeping yourself and your colleagues up to date with the latest techniques tried by fraudsters is an ongoing task to be aware of.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re unsure of something. Fraudsters are smart and it might be that the nature of your business means you need to call in a professional help to run training sessions, for example.
Once you’ve accumulated the knowledge you need to ward off fraudsters – online and offline – put it into a policy. Yes, it’s paperwork, but it’s necessary paperwork. Your policy should reiterate the message to staff and make your expectations crystal clear. Make sure this is accessible to everyone and is regularly reviewed and updated.
All of this ‘people’ work does need to be backed up with robust systems and software. Adopt a ‘safety first’ mentality when it comes to the systems that handle sensitive financial data of you, your staff and your customers. QuickBooks checks are a good example here – giving you business checks that are quick to print and impossible to counterfeit. By going for a security-minded option you can feel more confident about the way in which you operate.
Your data, time and money is precious, so it really is worth investing in something that will protect it all.
None of this is a guarantee against fraud, but it will help. When presented with a choice, any criminal will go for the easy option. Don’t allow your business to be seen as the easy option.
If you liked this article, follow us on Twitter @themerklenews and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and technology news.