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No-Cost Information Security Tips for Businesses


A new year is a great time for setting goals and getting a fresh start, but it also means it’s time to do an information security audit. If you don’t have that last item on your 2015 to-do list, your business is in serious risk of losing hard-earned money.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2014 Global Fraud Report explains, “Small businesses are both disproportionately victimized by fraud and notably under-protected by anti-fraud controls, a combination that makes them significantly vulnerable to this threat.”

But here comes the good news:  the ACFE says that many highly effective anti-fraud measures can be put in place without a huge cost to the business, regardless of size, “and thus provide a cost-effective investment for protecting these organizations from fraud.”

In light of that fact, consider doing the following, most of which you can put in place in an afternoon.

Browse wisely

Use the most up-to-date version of your web browser with 128-bit encryption capability. This feature will prevent anyone from “eavesdropping” on your data as it travels between you and your financial institution or your customers.

When your browser or operating system is out of date, critical security patches aren’t being provided by Microsoft, Apple, or other companies—leaving you vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves.

Passwords and pins

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, suggests making these updates (and has several other tips if you’re a Gmail user):

  • Change your passwords in favor of really strong ones (a combination of lower- and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols that don’t spell out words).
  • Also just as crucial: don’t re-use the same password across multiple sites or programs.
  • Put a pin/number lock on your mobile devices, from your iPhone to your Kindle. This deters any would-be thieves from easily accessing everything you store there.

Bank securely

Sign up for online banking to daily manage your financial business dashboard. By keeping an eye out for any unusual transactions, you and First Bank can work quickly to squash any potential fraudsters.

Additionally, our online banking platform will protect you using the following measures.

Multifactor authentication:  This is a security system in which more than one form of authentication is implemented to verify the legitimacy of an attempt to login online. In contrast, single factor authentication involves only a user ID and password.

Secure access codes: these codes sent to you through your phone (via a call or text), are required each time you sign in, and strengthen the safeguards in place at login by adding steps to verify your identity.

Dual approvals for ACH and wires: Upon submission of the file, you have the option of notifying an approver that the file is ready.  Either an e-mail message or telephone call is automatically sent to a user with the proper approval authority.

If you’d like a security audit for your business, come into your local First Bank branch. We’d be happy to sit down with you and review all the measures mentioned above, as well as other ways your business can be protected from fraud and theft.

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