Cyberattacks Aren’t the Only Threat to Your Business

August 10, 2018|

Recently, our office suffered a minor cyberattack. Someone clicked on a link in an innocuous-looking email that was about an “invoice.” Next thing you know, a bug or worm or spider or whatever they are calling malware now got access to this person’s contacts and started happily sending emails.

It had only been going a few minutes when I got the email from her and grew suspicious. Even in that short time, more than 1,000 email messages went out.

Lucky for us, that was all the bug did in our system. It was just fishing for people to go to a website and log in with their Microsoft account information. Fortunately, we have a sharp IT team and safeguards on our data.

We are all inundated daily with cautionary tales about cyber threats. However, my warning this month is not about the enemy on the outside storming the gates — it is about the “frenemy” on the inside, slowly and methodically stealing your assets.

At least several times each year, our office deals with a client who has been harmed by someone in his or her own organization. Generally, it is the “trusted employee,” the person who has been at the company so long that the person’s behavior is seemingly beyond reproach.

This is particularly true about embezzlement. We hear “John has been with us forever!” or “Sally is our most trusted employee!” and — the most telltale sign — “Joe never took vacation; he was here night and day!” (Names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

President Ronald Reagan’s much-quoted Russian proverb holds the key to mitigating losses from inside: “Trust, but verify.”

Loss mitigation, whether in money, trade secrets or other intellectual property, requires that no one person has unfettered control over an asset. That could be a bank account, a customer list or any other asset.

Without examining your organization, I cannot tell you the right processes or procedures to protect your business. However, I can assure you if you put all your eggs in one basket, they will very likely get cracked!

Talk to your business attorney, your CPA and your insurance provider about checks and balance to protect your business from the fox already in the henhouse.

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