Even with well-managed IT, the greatest risk to your bottom line is what your employees do at the desktop.  Why?  The truth is the most sophisticated technology tools can’t stop careless behavior.  If that behavior results in a virus or data breach, your revenue and expenses can be negatively affected.

How your employees may be unknowingly opening up your network to a hacker: 

Careless Handling of Credit Card Information

An employee who writes down a customer’s credit card number on a piece of paper, crumples it, and tosses it in the trash is putting that customer data at risk of being found later.

If you have forms with credit card numbers or other customer data, keep them secure.

Using Weak Passwords

It’s easy to get in the habit of using the same password for everything.  Don’t do it.  Encourage employees to use different passwords, and make them strong using upper and lower case characters, numbers, and symbols.

Experts say if you use a single word as your password, it’s hackable in under 20 minutes – maybe under 10.  Stay away from passwords that are easily identified with you such as names of pets or family members.

Storing Passwords on Post-It Notes

It’s hard to keep track of all those different passwords, so they often get written down and kept in a desk.  Keeping your password on a post-it note on your monitor (or in your desk drawer) is a no-no.

There are several useful password managers available and your IT provider can help you find what’s right for you.

Opening Suspicious Emails

Resist the urge to open an attachment or click on a link for an offer that looks too good to be true.  It probably is, and by clicking on the link you’ve exposed your computer and possibly your company’s network to a free search by a hacker.

Sometimes it looks like the sender may be someone you know, but double-check the “From” column to see if the email address matches the sender’s name.  If it doesn’t, delete the message.

How these behaviors can risk your bottom line in case of a breach:

Lost Business During the Attack

If your system is hacked, it may be down for some time while your IT people work to eliminate the issue and restore your system from a backup.  During this time, you may not be able to quote, enter orders, check on orders, or otherwise take care of your customers.

Loss of Company Assets

Confidential company information that could go to the hacker includes bank account numbers, passwords, customer records, vendor records, and employee information.  Some of this can be changed, some of it cannot.  Once the damage is done, you’ll spend time you don’t have getting everything squared away.

Reputational Damage

Depending on the severity of the breach, you may need to notify your customers, employees and vendors of the issue.  When you’ve worked years to build their trust, this can be a blow to their confidence in your business.

Litigation Risk

Again, you may find yourself subject to lawsuits depending on what type of information was stolen and who’s affected by the breach.  This results in a significant distraction to handling the needs of your business.

Make sure your employees know how to be safe at the desktop.  Taking unnecessary risks can absolutely affect your bottom line.

If your business needs help managing IT, contact CRU Solutions.