For small business owners, not much strikes fear like the thought of a security breach or fraudulent activity. Businesses can be ruined in an instant when employees or nefarious outsiders take advantage of loose security protocols. Yet this incredibly important aspect of small business is often overlooked. Why? Some business owners simply feel that they do not have the time.
While we certainly appreciate the time limitations of running a small business, the importance of security measures cannot be overstated. With this in mind, today we will review small business security as it pertains to the hiring process, internal audits, payment processing, and establishing written security protocols.
Small Business Security Starts with the Right Employees
We would like to think that we can trust our employees. And the fact remains, most of us can. Unfortunately, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch. The security of your small business should absolutely begin during the hiring process.
Small business employers and employees often know one another through personal channels or through a mutual business acquaintance. This can lead to situations where employers forego background checks. This is a very bad idea. The purpose of background checks is twofold:
To screen prospective employees to determine whether or not they are trustworthy.
To reduce your liability should that employee commit fraud or other improper actions at a later date.
Even if you feel that reason number one is not a concern, reason number two is a no-brainer. By performing a background check, small business owners can prove that they did their due diligence regarding an employee’s suitability.
The Importance of Regular Internal Audits
Internal auditing is yet another essential part of running a business which can sometimes get pushed aside by day-to-day necessity. You might trust your employees and have a general idea of the standing of your books, but there is simply no substitute for an internal audit to make sure that everything is running above board.
The word audit can conjure up thoughts of tax troubles and other negative situations. Instead, think of internal audits as an opportunity to look through your business’s financials and spot opportunities for improvement. Audits are not just about security and fraud protection, they are also about making sure your business is running smoothly!
Small businesses may also want to consider an external audit from time to time. This is also known as an independent audit. These types of audits come with the benefits of an impartial auditor, a full report upon completion, and a great way to prove that you are keeping up with good business practices should any wrongdoing be found.
Payment Processing Security and Fraud Protection
If your business accepts credit card payments of any kind, you are susceptible to payment processing fraud. So how exactly can you protect against this seemingly invisible threat? Here are a few high level ways:
Always remain PCI compliant: Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard (PCI) includes guidelines with which you must remain compliant. In order to remain PCI compliant we recommend finding a merchant service professional you can trust, which brings us to point two…
Work with a trusted payment processing provider: the merchant services organization you trust with your small business is a huge decision. Look for a merchant service that offers high level security packages for reasonable and transparent pricing options.
Understand that it is almost impossible to eliminate the risk of fraud: if you follow every piece of advice listed here, every piece of advice provided by your merchant service organization, and remain 100% compliant, you still may fall victim to fraud. The important thing is that you can show that you were compliant and in good standing at the time the fraud occurred. If not, you may not have a leg to stand on when it comes to fighting against wrongdoing.
Put Your Small Business Security Protocols in Writing
Much like the best practices of vetting prospective hires, preparing for the worst and doing so in writing may save your small business someday. Again, there are two high level benefits to developing a written security and or anti-fraud plan:
This will be your gameplan in the case of wrongdoing, a security breach, or a fraudulent activity.
This will be your written proof that you, as a small business, did everything within your power to adhere to security protocols.
Of course merely having a written plan is not enough — the plan must also be followed through if and when the time comes. If you are able to prove that you had a written plan and adhered to that plan, your chances of successfully fighting back against fraudulent activity becomes much higher.
True Merchant Offers CardSecure for Secure Transactions
At True Merchant, we understand that a few simple tips from a singular article isn’t enough to keep small business owners protected. That is why we offer a number of dedicated merchant services including CardSecure. Lean on our extensive experience to handle the payment processing security for your small business.
To speak with a payment processing security professional, please call or email us today. Your small business is worth protecting!