More bank accounts and business accounts are accessed online every day. While most people know about the types of physical security measures banks set up, protecting accounts in cyberspace puts much more responsibility on the account owner as well as the bank. Here are seven easy ways you can protect your business accounts.
1. Leveraging Multi-factor Authentication
There are several ways to implement multi-factor authentication solutions, both physical and virtual. In addition to a strong password, the bank may require one or more additional credentials. These include hard and soft tokens, codes sent to your phone via text or email, fingerprinting, voice and facial recognition, or PINs. A combination of two or more factors can help prevent data breaches by making your information too difficult for it to be worth breaking into.
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2. Monitoring Balances
When you're conducting business online, you must be vigilant regarding your accounts. Banks are able to freeze accounts and can sometimes get money returned in the event of fraud, but the bank isn't going to be spending its resources continually watching your accounts. That's considered the account holder's responsibility. Manually check your account balances and transactions regularly to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. You should make a habit of checking daily. Do so more often in times of transition, for example, during a corporate account changeover.
3. Choosing Financial Apps
As online banking has become more common, so has banking through mobile apps. The safest way to access accounts through mobile apps is to use only your banking institution's official app. Budgeting apps and money transfer apps typically ask you to input your bank account information and/or login credentials in order to connect the apps, which can be a violation of the bank's terms of service and risk leaving your sensitive information open to attack. If you must use a secondary app, first make sure it is a legitimate financial app. Check its ratings and reviews, see if there's any record of data breaches related to the app, and see if you can learn anything about the security and encryption the app utilizes.
4. Checking Banks' Security Measures
While banks are able to help account holders in the event of fraud, they aren't obligated to reimburse defrauded businesses, because commercial accounts aren't covered under federal law. This means it's imperative you review the security measures of banks you're considering trusting your funds to. Make sure the bank follows guidance on fraud protection from federal financial institutions, implements account access protocols, and leverages account monitoring methods. Check what kind of limits the bank places on withdrawals and other transactions and whether the bank uses a third-party transaction processor. Most large banks have the capability to process transactions in-house, but smaller ones may not.
5. Learning about Phishing Scams
It's important to be aware of various phishing and hacking scams. Some hackers use viruses that allow them to access your device remotely or monitor your keystrokes. Others send fake emails, text messages, and voicemails to trick you into providing them sensitive information such as account numbers and passwords. Provide security training to all your employees, and specific training about securing your sensitive account information to any employee who is given access to your business accounts. If people know the signs to look for in a phishing scam, they are far less likely to fall for such scams.
6. Investing in an Insurance Plan
It can be a good idea to buy fraud insurance that covers everything from cybercrime to embezzlement. If you leverage insurance as a safeguard, you'll be protected in the event your preventative security fails in some way. While it's logical to assume a solid security strategy will be enough, think of this more like car insurance. You can do everything in your power to drive safely and pass inspection, but then someone rear-ends you on the road. Insurance helps cushion the blow if something slips past your security measures.
7. Following Industry Best Practices
One of the most basic strategies for protecting your accounts is researching and following the best practices for account security in your industry. Limiting access to sensitive accounts and implementing firewalls are effective basic precautions. You should also ensure anyone who may access your business account has the proper training to securely access the account and follows general access rules, such as not accessing the account on his or her personal device and avoiding clicking on suspicious links. If you can, dedicate one device to online banking. Don't allow this device to be used for anything else.
There are many easy ways to protect your business accounts. If you implement several different security measures that work well together, you can strengthen your protection exponentially.