Online banking is easy and convenient and therefore ideal for small businesses. However, there are dangers and downsides to using online banking that you need to be informed of before going electronic. Cyber criminals are constantly prowling the internet looking for ways to access your personal information, perhaps by enticing you to enter in your user name, password, or credit card information. The information is then either used by them to steal money from your account, or sold to other cyber criminals to use as they like.
In addition to needing to be on guard against cyber criminals, it is important to know that protection laws for online bankers work differently than they do for consumers. Businesses do not receive the same kind of coverage or legal protection, and are therefore more susceptible to losing funds without the possibility of recovering.
Such prospects are likely to scare off more than one small business owner from using online banking. In reality, however, online banking can be an excellent time saver, and can greatly increase your productivity. It is therefore vital that you learn how to practice safe online banking, and keep your business’ funds safe.
Consider the following 4 tips to help you bank online securely:
- Get educated. Hire an IT professional or a consultant (or ask your techie, web-savvy buddy) to come and give a training course to your employees regarding safe online banking use. Really, the course should cover all aspects of safe online browsing, and show how e-mails and other messages can be used to trick you into giving up personal log in information.
- Secure your computer system. Did you read my latest post on securing your network? (LINK to recent post) Not only do security systems keep your information safe, they keep your money safe. If you have yet to install a basic security system, don’t even think about doing online banking. In addition, get a system that is secure enough for your business, not just your private use.
- Set up a computer for online banking only. Obviously, this isn’t going to be possible for all businesses. But, if you have an extra computer that is rarely used, set it up as the dedicated online banking computer. Don’t use it to browse the web or check email; this will lower your risk of coming into contact with cyber criminals.
- Talk with your bank. Find out how secure your bank’s online banking system is by talking with them about what kind of security system they have in place. Ask them for advice on how to have a safe online banking experience. Make sure and find out what kind of protection is offered by the bank for small businesses using online banking.
Combine knowledge with the right programs and a touch of common sense and you will find that online banking is the next best thing to become available on the internet, right after all those TV shows you can watch for free on Hulu.