Entries tagged with “data security for small businesses”.

Fraud prevention has the potential to be one of the most cost-effective investments your company makes. To calculate your ROI, however, you need to understand the opportunity cost associated with fraud prevention.

A recent Yahoo Finance article reports on how much UK businesses lost due to fraud. Here are two of the most important figures:

- The average amount of money lost was $4,000

- 1% of SMBs lost more than $15,500

The article also explains that all businesses, whether small or large, can be impacted by fraud. We often say that small businesses are at a greater risk of fraud since hackers know they don’t have sufficient resources to invest in fraud prevention. Hacking small businesses isn’t as fruitful as hacking banks, but it’s easier to infiltrate unprotected technology systems that small businesses often use.

A cost-effective way to practice fraud prevention and protect your business is to use encrypted state-of-the art payment processors. These add an additional layer of security when your clients pay with credit cards. Moreover, you get to track payments in case someone tries to scam your business. The important thing is that you choose a payment processor which fits your company’s needs. There are tons of payment processors out there, and they all vary in terms of features and functions.

We recommend taking your time and researching a few payment processors until you’re completely satisfied with one. Feel free to reach out to if you have any questions about technical specifications.

When you want a great product and a great service, it always comes with a price. Some of those prices are known ahead of time, but sometimes there are hidden fees that companies do not find out about until later. In the industry that handles merchant services, it is generally not the price that raises eyebrows, it is the way providers hide their fees. The price that you are given may seem reasonable, but then you will be hit will several hidden fees at one time.

When you are trying to find a payment processor, the fees will certainly be a big factor that will have a part in your decision. If you are given a proposal from a payment processor provider with a list of services and prices, you may not get what you are expecting and you may not pay what the proposal claims you are going to pay. For these reasons, it is important to know how to protect yourself from hidden fees from payment processors.

Here are some of the common fees that you may expect to see from a payment processor or merchant service:

Transaction Fees

In many cases, you can expect to pay up to 20 cents when one of your customers swipes a debit or credit card. You will see this fee even if the transaction does not go through completely. This can be listed as a transaction fee, but it can be different for debit card transactions. You should ask the provider of your payment processor to outline all of this information, for both credit and debit transactions.

Fees For Paper Statements

You can expect to pay a fee for the monthly paper statements. This fee can be as high as $15 and as low as $5. However, you do have the option to receive these statements online. If you choose this option, the fees may be removed or these fees may be reduced. You should speak with your payment provider about this to be sure.

You need to select a provider who will be honest and upfront about all of the fees that you will be charged for. No one wants to receive a bill that will surprise them because of all the hidden fees. Contact us for support in protecting your business from those hidden fees.

Fraud prevention for small businesses is easier than you think, and with these simple considerations you will be protected from a variety of fraud.

It is important to consider the goods you sell and if they could be fraudulently returned. Items that have been used, such as computer hardware, or gift cards, can be used and sometimes returned with the intent on fooling the sales associates. To protect yourself from any adverse situation, it is important to track the sale of each item using serial numbers and bookkeeping.

Addresses that your customers give you should be examined. A simple system that checks for address validity could be added to your website. If customers are hiding their real address, it is very possible fraud will occur.

Chargebacks are inevitable but not the end of the world. Some businesses simply budget for a few chargebacks a year, depending on how many goods they sell. However, using a payment processor can often give you insurance for a certain number of chargebacks, so you do not have to worry.

Be wary of potential partners. Scammers like to target small businesses thinking that they are easy prey. If you receive an e-mail or letter about a business proposition that sounds too good to be true, avoid it. Contacting businesses that you want to partner with proactively is a better strategy.

Feel free to contact us if you want more fraud prevention tips. Fraud is a concern for every business and could result in a major detriment to your business if you don’t take the necessary precautionary steps.

As part of our series on small business financial success tips, we thought we would share some of the common accounting mistakes that we see from small businesses. Review your small business financial practices to ensure that you are not guilty of making one of these mistakes!

- Failing to follow-up with past due accounts – As a small business, you may not have a collections officer on staff, and you may not prioritize calling clients who owe funds. Don’t let clients take advantage of your goodwill (and wreck your cash flow) by sending payments late. Commit to following up with past due accounts.

- Being too lenient in collections due dates – Small business owners often extend lenient collections dates to 60 days or more. Over time, this can sap your cash flow and may leave you without sufficient operating capital. Ask for payment when services are rendered, or no more than 30 days after.

- Forgetting to balance bank statements – We understand that balancing bank statements can sometimes seem minor. However, how will you catch a mistake if you do not balance your bank statements? It’s in your best business interest to ensure an accurate cash flow, and balancing bank statements is an important part of this.

- Not managing inventory levels – It can take some time for small businesses to determine how much inventory is the right amount. Too much and you’ve tied up cash flow in goods that may not sell. Too little and you risk missing out on sales when items are back ordered. Ensure that all staff are keeping inventory records so you can better gauge the right level of inventory and maximize sales.

To learn more about any of the issues we’ve raised here, please contact us today.

The need to protect the financial data of your customers is more important now than it’s ever been. Not only could a cyber breach set you up for multiple lawsuits, but it could badly hurt your company’s reputation online. Here are some tips on how to avoid cyber security breaches regarding financial data.

Use Cloud Access

It’s true that this can be difficult to set up, but having a “bring your own device” option for employees will not only make them happy, but it will also allow you to institute cloud policies instead of trying to clear each and every device that accesses your sensitive financial data.

This is important, because if the device is stolen or lost by an employee, it means that the system will automatically block them out, and anyone who gains access to the device won’t have access to the financial data since there’s none on the device.

Screen Employees

Some financial breaches are actually inside jobs in which employees gain privileged access to detailed financial data. You can prevent a potential cyber breach before it happens by doing proper background checks and screenings on all employees before giving them access to your sensitive systems.

Use Trust Seals to Protect Your Website

There are various companies out there that will help you protect your site from potential breaches on a daily basis. These sites will let you put their seal on your site. This will reassure your customers that their data will be protected, and it may also deter potential cyber thieves from even trying in the first place.

For more information on ways to prevent breaches, please contact us today.