03 03 2014

03 03 2014

Small Businesses Should Fight Data Breaches

Hundreds of millions of consumers around the world have had their personal data compromised by recent breaches at large retailers like Neiman Marcus and Target. Not only do cyber attacks like these affect consumers, but they greatly hurt a business’ credibility and bottom line – as evidenced by Target’s recent earnings report, which showed the retailer’s profits in the fourth quarter of 2013 fell 46 percent from the same period in 2012.

It’s no secret that large businesses have more resources to help thwart cyber attacks, but if they’re vulnerable to such fraud, small businesses likely are even more sensitive. Small business owners who instead want to increase profits and business capital should be vigilant in data security, because the cost it takes to fight it is less than the cost of breach aftermath.

To ensure the future growth and security of small businesses, California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently released tips that small business owners could follow to protect themselves against potential data breaches. Owners around the country would benefit from heeding the advice.

“There are a lot of businesses that are worried about payroll and taxes and health care; they don’t have millions, or even thousands, to spend on security,” said Kevin Mahaffey co-founder of Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security firm, said to The Washington Post about Harris’ suggestions.

Proper protection

The top five tips from Harris include for businesses to: assume they’re a target; lead by example; map and encrypt their data; bank securely; and defend themselves.

By assuming that they are not a target, small businesses put themselves at a great risk of suffering a breach, because nobody and no business is invincible. Taking even the most simple steps – like changing passwords on business equipment and devices frequently and holding all employees accountable – can better protect a business.

Even if an owner has an information technology professional on staff, they can’t assume that all cybersecurity protection is out of their hands. Only owners and management have true authority to make sure all measures are taken and that all employees follow protocol, so it is vital that they are involved.

Other tips from Harris include to:

  • Educate employees;
  • Be password-wise;
  • Operate securely; and
  • Plan for the worst.

“[T]he skyrocketing number of mobile devices has spawned new threats,” Harris said when introducing her recommendations. “Many of us now carry devices in our pockets that are more sophisticated than we ever could have imagined just a decade ago. Downloadable applications can render us vulnerable to fraud, theft and other privacy concerns and mobile devices that are constantly connected to the Internet or local Wi-Fi networks face persistent security issues. Mobile security is an issue that must be on our radar screens as we move into 2014.”

Small business owners who plan to secure a nontraditional loan from lenders such as National Funding should take all of these steps to ensure security and make sure their increased investment is safe.

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Any applications submitted electronically shall have the same force and effect as if the application bore an inked original signature(s). The above information, together with any accompanying financial statements, schedules, or other materials, is submitted for the purpose of obtaining credit and is warranted to be true, correct, and complete.

 

US Patriot Act:

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person and business that seeks a business loan. What this means for you: When you apply for a loan, we will ask for your business name, address, and Tax Identification Number. We will also ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

 

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The Merchant and Owner(s)/Officer(s) identified in the application (individually, an “Applicant”) each represents, acknowledges and agrees that (1) all information and documents provided to National Funding, Inc. (“NF”) including credit card processor statements are true, accurate and complete, (2) Applicant will immediately notify NF of any change in such information or financial condition, (3) Applicant authorizes NF to disclose all information and documents that NF may obtain including credit reports to other persons or entities (collectively, “Assignees”) that may be involved with or acquire commercial loans having daily repayment features and/or Merchant Cash Advance transactions, including without limitation the application therefor (collectively, “Transactions”) and each Assignee is authorized to use such information and documents, and share such information and documents with other Assignees, in connection with potential Transactions, (4) each Assignee will rely upon the accuracy and completeness of such information and documents, (5) NF, Assignees, and each of their representatives, successors, assigns and designees (collectively, “Recipients”) are authorized to request and receive any investigative reports, credit reports, statements from creditors or financial institutions, verification of information, or any other information that a Recipient deems necessary, (6) Applicant waives and releases any claims against Recipients and any information-providers arising from any act or omission relating to the requesting, receiving or release of information, and (7) each Owner/Officer represents that he or she is authorized to sign this form on behalf of Merchant.(8) I consent to receive direct mail, faxes, text-messages, and e-mails sent by National Funding and its affiliates for the purposes of transmitting account updates, requests for information and notices, and (9) this request is for business and not for consumer purposes.

 

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I hereby certify: (1) the information provided is true and correct, (2) you are hereby authorized to investigate all bank, credit, and trade references, and said references are hereby authorized to release any requested information to you or your nominee, (3) such authorization shall extend to obtaining personal credit profile in considering this application and subsequently for the purposes of update, renewal or extension of such credit or additional credit and for reviewing or collecting the resulting account, (4) this information may be transmitted by us to you and by you to underwriter(s) for the purpose of granting me credit, either electronically or manually, and that by submitting this application, I take full responsibility for transmission thereof, (5) I am over 18 years of age, (6) I acknowledge my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, (7) I consent to receive direct mail, faxes, text-messages, and e-mails sent by National Funding and its affiliates for the purposes of transmitting account updates, requests for information and notices, and (8) this request is for business and not for consumer purposes.

 

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