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30 Apr
Cyber attacks are real……

Could you be a victim of a cyber attack?

With more and more businesses storing confidential information and data on cloud services, there is a greater need for more robust security practices and strategies.  While security breaches have plagued many of the country’s largest retailers, the threat of cybercrime is now even more real for small businesses.

Small businesses often lack the resources and security policies to protect against attacks, making them an easier target for hackers.  Additionally, because cyber criminals techniques are evolving quickly business is always at risk of an attack.

 Manage email security

Look to deter break-ins from theft by encrypting your company emails and communications. This will force a hacker to fight through another layer of protection, and that generally isn’t worth their time when they can steal other information elsewhere without the hassle. Email encryption is the equivalent to locking your car doors or your home as a deterrent to burglars.

 Enforce strict password policies.

Another step to prevent cyber crime starts with training your staff on the importance of using smarter passwords, which are crucial to upgrading cyber security. Although more complex passwords may seem like a hassle you should still create a company policy to mandate them.

Passwords should never be the same across multiple platforms, and it’s best to change them every three months at a minimum.

Train your employees on the warning signs of cyber attacks

Employees should be trained on understanding the warning signs of a harmful email or phishing scam. While email providers are continually improving their detection procedures and doing a better job at spotting these potential threats before you receive them, some of the trickier schemes still find their way into in boxes. These emails may be disguised as a trusted client’s email or a recognizable brand, but these scams tend to have a few similarities.  Some red flags include emails that ask for personal or credit card information, requests for immediate action regarding unfamiliar situations and emails that include suspicious attachments.

Take advantage of malware, spyware and firewall software programs

Mandate that each computer used for company business have malware, spyware and firewall software installed to help catch and eliminate threats before they become problematic.

While it is not possible to be absolutely secure there are a number of ways small businesses can better protect themselves to mitigate the potential impact of cyber attacks.

By Anne Capps
Executive Vice President - American Receivable

 

 

15 Apr
It’s Tax Day…

The Tax Man Cometh…..

Tax day is here.  Returns must be postmarked by midnight to be considered on time. Don’t panic however if you can’t meet the midnight deadline, you have options.

Millions of Americans miss the April 15 deadline for filing federal taxes.  If you can’t file your return you still need to file an extension today.  It’s important to remember though an extension is only an extension to file not an extension to pay. You can use a tax filing service or CPA to file the extension for you or simply download the form from the IRS at IRS.gov. Not paying on time can rack up costly penalties and interest, some as high as 25 percent.

Taxes are inevitable but as Daniel Defoe so eloquently said in The Political History of the Devil…”things as certain as death and taxes can be more firmly believed.

By Anne Capps
Executive Vice President – American Receivable

 

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