Archive for the ‘Business Advice’ Category

Would You Know If Someone Was Stealing From Your Business?

Friday, May 20th, 2016
Employee Fraud- Ohio CPA Firm

According to the 2016 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud & Abuse by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the typical organization loses 5 percent of its annual revenue to fraud. What are you doing to prevent fraud from occurring in your organization?

A 20-year employee at a city school charged with managing adult education programs was known as a hard worker who had secured her colleagues’ respect. But when external auditors came into the district to review the school’s financial records, it didn’t take long to realize that something just wasn’t adding up. Questions began to circulate and people starting comparing notes. It wasn’t until her co-workers started questioning how she could afford the costly gifts during the holidays and lavish purchases made to redecorate her home that all the pieces began to fit together. After all, that type of money was certainly not in line with her position’s established pay scale.

Read Also: Are Your Employees Skimming From The Top?

Warning Signs

The funds this woman used to redecorate her home were not acquired honestly. They were obtained as part of an embezzlement scheme that lasted for at least two years. Because she attempted to cover her tracks by destroying the financial records, forensic accounting professionals were called in to reconstruct the activity using the school’s enrollment records.

The fraudster was thwarted in this instance … but this is certainly not an isolated incident. In fact, it happens more than you might think.

According to the 2016 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud & Abuse by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the typical organization loses 5 percent of its annual revenue to fraud. The group estimates that the potential financial loss to organizations worldwide due to fraud is at least $3.7 trillion dollars. The median loss in this particular study, which compiled data from 2,410 cases of occupational fraud in 114 different countries, was $150,000. Nearly one-quarter of all frauds in this worldwide study topped $1 million or more.

What Are You Doing To Prevent Fraud In Your Organization?

If you are looking to significantly decrease the fraud threat in your organization you must have a strategy in place to prevent and detect it. And if a fraudster is in your midst, implementation of anti-fraud controls are effective are an effective way to shut fraud down faster. The Report to the Nations states that the presence of anti-fraud controls correlated to fewer losses and quicker detection.

Which Control Is The Right Control?

According to the report, the top five anti-fraud controls utilized by organizations today are:

  1. External Audit of Financial Statements
  2. Code of Conduct
  3. Internal Audit Departments
  4. Management Certification of Financial Statements
  5. And External Audit Internal Control over Financial Reporting

But are they the most effective?

Over the course of this study, researchers found that the five most effective controls when it comes to preventing and stopping fraud are:

  1. Tips
  2. Internal Audits
  3. Management Review
  4. By Accident
  5. Account Reconciliation

A key opportunity to guard against fraudulent behavior is still being missed. For example, while tips were the most common detection method regardless of whether a hotline was in place, fraud schemes were detected by tip in 47.3 percent of cases at organizations that had fraud hotlines. In contrast, only 28.2 percent of cases were detected by tips at organizations without hotlines. It’s clear that businesses and organizations should invest in a fraud prevention strategy that encourages anonymous tips if they aren’t doing so already.

Is your business or organization at risk? Do you want to learn more about which controls are most effective at preventing and detecting fraud? To learn more on this topic, email Rea & Associates.

By Annie Yoder, CPA, CFE, CFF (New Philadelphia office)

Check out these articles for more fraud-prevention strategies:

Let’s Talk About The F-Word

Cost-Effective Ways To Deter Fraud

How Much Money Could You Be Losing From Fraud?

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New DOL Rule Shakes Up Exemption Threshold

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced its publication of a final rule to update the regulations governing the exemption of certain classes of employees from minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule, which goes into effect Dec. 1, provides for an updated salary and compensation threshold for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees to be considered exempt as well as provides an amendment to the salary basis test to allow employers to utilize nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The new rule sets the salary level at $913 per week or $47,476 annually. The total annual compensation for highly compensated employees (HCE) was also adjusted to $134,004. Additionally, the rule provides for an automatic update to the salary and compensation levels every three years to ensure they continue to provide effective tests for exemption.

The new salary and compensation level is an increase of 100 percent over the previous salary level, set at $455 per week or $23,660 annually in 2004. The DOL anticipates the rule to automatically extend overtime pay eligibility to 4.2 million workers and says the American worker will see more money in their pockets or more free time to improve work-life balance as a result of the measure. Furthermore, the DOL sees this change as an effort to improve workers’ health and increase productivity through improved morale and reduced turnover.

The change is not well received by many.

“We are disappointed by the Labor Department’s 100% increase to the salary threshold for overtime eligibility,” said Scott Wiley, CAE, president and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs, in an article on the society’s website. “This rule will impose serious hardships on public and private sector employers and employees, which will have damaging consequences for the communities they serve. We urge Congress to support legislation to rethink overtime changes that strain employers.”

Employers have time to complete internal analysis of how the final rule will impact their business prior to the Dec. 1 effective date. Staffing and budgeting decisions will need to be re-examined, and employers will need to have discussions with their employees regarding their employment classification and any impact the final rule may have. The anticipated increase in cost to employers is $1.2 billion per year in increased wages.

There are planning opportunities surrounding pay and bonus structure to mitigate the impact the final rule may have on employers. You can find an informative whitepaper report on the issue on the DOL website. You can also email Rea & Associates if you have questions about the new rule and how it will affect your business or if you need help navigating the change and implementing a plan that works for your business and employees.

By Ashley Matthews, CPA (Dublin office)

Take a look at these articles for more business insight:

Phishing Scam Is A Threat To Ohio Businesses

Protect Your Business With These 6 Tips

Can Your Business Survive An Employee Exodus?

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Business Improvement Begins Internally

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Lean Six Sigma - Ohio CPA Firm

Chris Liebtag recently appeared on an episode of unsuitable on Rea Radio, a weekly podcast produced by Rea & Associates. Chris, and host Mark Van Benschoten, discuss Lean Six Sigma and why all businesses can benefit by implementing the discipline. Click here to listen to the show!

When you think about the utility of Lean Six Sigma, you are likely thinking about its usage in the manufacturing industry. But did you know that business owners across a wide range of industries can find value in Lean Six Sigma as well? The usefulness of this practice spans far beyond a manager’s ability to improve efficiency on the production room floor. In fact, this discipline has yielded significant results in a variety of businesses spanning all types industries with varying product and service offerings.

Start listening and Discover The Hidden Factory of Lean Business Building on unsuitable on Rea Radio

Why You Should Run A Lean Office

Like most businesses (if not all businesses), one of the basic tenants of Lean Six Sigma is to understand and drive client value. Using this fact as a starting point, the Lean Six Sigma discipline is then used to identify areas of improvement in your organization while implementing effective, more efficient, solutions.

Even though a manufacturing company and a doctor’s office appear to be fundamentally different, both organizations can find significant value through the implementation of Lean Six Sigma because they share the same basic tenant – to understand and drive client value. From a healthcare perspective we know that patients value shorter wait times and improved professional interaction. Using Lean Six Sigma, we would review the office’s processes and determine how to make them more effective in the interest of driving client value. One solution might be to improve the general organization of the office. Doing so could feasibly result in greater efficiency among the staff, shorter wait times and longer, more meaningful interactions with patients.

This same scenario can play out in all offices where client value is considered a priority.

Better Quality Begins At The Beginning

When you have two people doing the same job without any formal processes, they’re bound to produce different results. Unfortunately, lack of consistency negatively impacts the company’s overall ability to produce quality products and/or services.

Companies and organizations that implement Lean Six Sigma, go through the exercise of deconstructing organizational processes to determine best practices, implement changes and establish quality control measures throughout every step of the process – not just at the end. Making quality a priority early in the process will consistently produce higher quality products and services.

Just Getting Started

Obviously we are just scratching the service of what Lean Six Sigma can do. I recently had the opportunity to talk about the effectiveness of Lean Six Sigma on an episode of unsuitable on Rea Radio with Mark Van Benschoten where I was able to talk a little more about the practice. You can go to www.reacpa.com/podcast or click the play button on the media player below to listen to our conversation. You can also email Rea & Associates if you have questions this topic.

By Chris Liebtag, LSSBB, PMP (Dublin office)

Check out these articles for even more tips to help you move the needle:

Your Business Could Be Doing Better

Turning The Tables On Ourselves: How We Used Lean Six Sigma

Gaining Efficiencies In Service With Lean Six Sigma

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Who’s Driving Your Business’s Results?

Monday, May 9th, 2016
Jeremy Senften | unsuitable on Rea Radio | Ohio Accounting Podcast

Jeremy Senften, CPA, CGMA, Rea’s chief operating officer, joins Mark Van Benschoten on an episode of unsuitable on Rea Radio to talk about the benefit of tracking your business’s success. Listen to episode 31, “Bet On Your Business By Scoring Your Success,” now!

Businesses that drive consistent revenue growth are able to do so because they have honed in on the importance of working with their teams to drive measurable results. And, believe it or not, it’s not rocket science! Take a look at these three tactics for tips to help you achieve the growth goals you’ve been working toward.

Listen To Bet On Your Business By Scoring Your Success on unsuitable on Rea Radio

Place Your Bet

If you had to bet that one particular action would drive the results you are looking for, what would that bet look like? For example, if your goal was to increase your company’s sales, I would be willing to bet that increasing the number of calls your team makes to customers would bring you closer to reaching your goal. Placing your bet on a particular initiative will help you identify where you need to focus your efforts and work you do to reinforce the bet will help you achieve the goal.

Keep Score

Just because you are not keeping score in the traditional sense, doesn’t mean somebody else isn’t tallying up points. Generally speaking, we like to keep score because we like to know if who is winning. As competitive beings, people like to see what the others are doing. That way we have an idea of what we need to do to one-up them. Companies can harness this drive and put it to good use when it comes to driving desired results in your business. Tracking your success is so important and communicating these results is just as critical. Your team wants to know how what they are doing has an effect on what is going to happen and how those results impact the big picture. It’s your job to show them.

Communicate

If you aren’t constantly communicating news, results and other critical information, your efforts are doomed to be chalked as just another “flavor of the month.” You’ve likely make a significant investment in this particular initiative, so it’s critical that you talk it up – and often. Some people say that a person has to hear something seven times before it actually “clicks.” I like to joke that you should talk about it until you are tired of talking about it … then mention it 10 times more. You shouldn’t be the only one delivering the message either. Try to establish a team to champion your message to encourage others to take ownership of the initiative as well.

Are you looking for more insight into the goal-setting (and achieving) process or would you like some additional clarity on the points above? Listen to my interview with Mark Van Benschoten on unsuitable on Rea Radio and “Bet On Your Business By Scoring Your Success.”

By Jeremy Senften, CPA, CGMA (New Philadelphia office)

For more insight into achieving business growth, check out these articles:

From Good To Great: How To Create A Strategic Plan That Propel Your Business Forward

If It’s Going To Be, Then It’s Up To Me

Measure Your Operations With Key Financial Information

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Last Minute Tax Tips, Financial Stress and Cybercriminals …

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

April’s Top Posts Had Readers On Edge

So our month was pretty intense … how was yours? The good news is that we made it through another tax season, the bad news is that business owners are clearly still on high alert due to continuous influx of hacker activity. Take a look at our top five blog posts in April for some useful tips and insight you can use all year long.

Top 5 Blog Posts For Business Owners In April

  1. Can A Cybercriminal Crack Your Company’s Network? Small and midsize businesses are not immune to becoming the target of a crippling cyberattack and without the proper procedures in place business owners risk the very real threat of a large-scale assault on their company’s data. Would you be able to recover if your organization was attacked?
  2. How Flexible Is Your Company’s Management Style? Never before has the American business owner had to manage a workforce consisting of employees whose ages span five generations. And because each generation is unique, your company’s leadership team is left with the impossible task of adopting a management style to accommodate an incredibly diverse workforce. Keeping reading to learn more.
  3. What Tax Liabilities Accompany Inherited Real Estate? So you just inherited some real estate. You’re probably now wondering – is this a blessing or a curse? From the tax perspective, of course. And that’s a good question to ask. Just because you inherit something doesn’t mean that you’re free and clear of any potential tax liabilities. Depending on how you use the property and if you sell it will determine if you have a taxable situation. So here’s what you should know about taxes and inherited real estate. Read on to learn more.
  4. Increased Financial Stress Hurts Your Company’s Bottom Line Earlier this month, in a proclamation that reiterated the importance of equipping everybody with the “knowledge and protections necessary to secure a stable financial future for themselves and their families,” President Obama declared April to be National Financial Capability Month. While the timing of the proclamation makes this a great time to raise general awareness about the importance of financial fitness, businesses have a great opportunity to educate their employees about the importance of financial wellness all year long.
  5. How Can You Track Use Tax in QuickBooks? Now that you have filed for use tax amnesty and are all set up with an account, how are you going to track it daily going forward? If you use QuickBooks, the answer is as simple as 1-2-3.

April was great, but we are excited to see what May brings. More tips for business success? More financial news and updates? Personal finance advice? Of course! Stay tuned.

Don’t want to miss a post? Make sure you have subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss a single post.

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Celebrate Six Years’ Worth Of Business Tips With Drebit

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Print

Today Drebit is turning six! Check out his top posts from over the years.

Drebit turns six today and we couldn’t be more excited. Over the years the Rea team has helped this intuitive frog provide readers with a wide variety of helpful business tips designed to help drive results in your organization as well as current business and financial news and we have certainly enjoyed the journey! This birthday isn’t about Drebit, it’s about you, our readers, for spending a few minutes with us each week or for checking in for answers that will help you confront a challenge facing your business. You are the reason Drebit continues today!

To celebrate, we are going to list Dear Drebit’s top six blog posts. Which one did you find to be the most useful? Let us know in the comment section!

Drebit’s Top 6 Blog Posts

  1. How Far Back Can The IRS Go For Tax Auditing? Taxes can be scary word and accountants are often asked, “How far back can the IRS audit tax returns?” Before you start to panic, rest assured that the IRS has a statute of limitations in place that generally puts a limit on the time allowed to audit you and assess additional tax. Keep reading to learn what those limitations are.
  2. How will selling a house from an estate impact my taxes? My mother passed away Oct. 30, 2009. She left my brother and me her house, which has just been released from probate court. We have someone wanting to buy it and we would split around $140,000. What kind of taxes do we face? Find out the answer in this blog post.
  3. Theft Safeguards To Cause Tax Return Delays In Ohio If time is money then the new security measures to protect Ohio taxpayer’s returns and prevent identity theft comes at a price. The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) said that in an effort to boost security and prevent tax-fraud in the state, Ohio will implement an “up-front filter to all tax-refund requests to analyze the demographic information reported on the return.”
  4. Do You Need to Send an Annual Notice to Your 401k Participants? If your company sponsors a calendar year 401k plan, don’t forget about participant notice requirements. They must be furnished by Dec.1, and may impact the operation or qualification of your plan. Here is a checklist that may be helpful, but check with us if you are not certain which of these requirements apply to your plan.
  5. What Happens if My 401(k) Plan is Out of Compliance with an IRS or DOL Rule? In this article we will explain the statute of limitations if your 401(k) plan is out of compliance with an IRS or DOL rule and how you can work to rectify any issues you may have with your business’s retirement plan.
  6. How Can You Track Use Tax in QuickBooks? Now that you have filed for use tax amnesty and are all set up with an account, how are you going to track it daily going forward? If you use QuickBooks, the answer is as simple as 1-2-3.

Is there a financial or business question you need the answer to? Let us know by contacting the Rea team today! We would love to answer it!

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How Flexible Is Your Company’s Management Style?

Monday, April 25th, 2016
Multi-Generational Workforce | Management Style | Ohio CPA Firm

Are you able to successfully manage a multi-generational workforce? Read on to find out why you may need to adjust your management style to achieve optimal productivity and general sustainability of your business.

Never before has the American business owner had to manage a workforce consisting of employees whose ages span five generations. And because each generation is unique, your company’s leadership team is left with the impossible task of adopting a management style to accommodate an incredibly diverse workforce.

Listen To: Mastering The Un-Manageable Magic Of Millennials

Today, an effective management team is required to be fluent in a traditional management style to accommodate the Baby Boomers while adopting an effective hands-off approach to appease the up-and-coming Millennials and a variety of other techniques to motivate and inspire the workers who fall somewhere in the generational middle ground. AND all of this has to be done effortlessly. …

You’re probably wondering if all this extra work to understand the generational differences of today’s workforce even really matters. If so, worry no longer – it does matter, a lot. Here’s why:

Marketplace Competition

The marketplace is changing and in order for your business to stay competitive, you have to be fast and agile. Who knows how to do this better than the Millennials? When I was growing up, if I wanted to make a purchase, I had to drive to the store and browse the aisles before making a purchase. Today, all the consumer has to do is pull out the smartphone, browse the products, read reviews and buy the product – and this whole transaction happens very, very quickly.

Employee Retention

A lot of businesses are having a real problem when it comes to employee retention. Companies that are not willing to adjust to their employee’s needs are going to have a difficult time retaining them for a significant period of time. Rather than try to fit a square peg into a round hole, your business might have more luck keeping that star employee around if you were to adopt a different management style. Otherwise, be prepared for the company rock star to look for employment elsewhere.

Improved Productivity

Millennials have already changed the way business is conducted in America, and we’re only getting started. One of the most extreme changes we have seen centers around the productivity of the younger generation. A lot of times we will hear that they are unwilling to get to work at 8 a.m. or that, when they do get to work, they are rarely focused on just one task. To the older generations, this can be frustrating because it flies in the face of the traditional workstyle. However, when the business can harness the unique skills and dedication of the younger generations, business owners are bound to see the productivity of these employees significantly improve.

I talk a lot about how businesses can make since of an increasingly diverse workforce on episode 29 of unsuitable on Rea Radio. You can listen to the episode, Mastering the Un-Manageable Magic of Millennials” by clicking play on the media player below, or you can visit the episode’s webpage to listen and tap into some other great resources to help you along. And, of course, you can always email Rea & Associates for even more, specific tips and insight.

By Pat Porter (Dublin office)

Are you looking for some more HR insight to help your business? Check out these articles for some helpful advice:

No People, No Growth

Fully Staffed & Operational: How To Master Your Employee Recruitment Strategy

Can You Afford To Lose Them?

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Increased Financial Stress Hurts Your Company’s Bottom Line

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Financial Stress | Business Problem | Ohio CPA Firm

There is a clear correlation between an employee’s stress rate due to financial hardship and reduced productivity, higher healthcare costs, increased risk of occupational fraud and lower retirement readiness. Read on to find out what you can do to help promote financial wellness in your business.

Earlier this month, in a proclamation that reiterated the importance of equipping everybody with the “knowledge and protections necessary to secure a stable financial future for themselves and their families,” President Obama declared April to be National Financial Capability Month. While the timing of the proclamation makes this a great time to raise general awareness about the importance of financial fitness, businesses have a great opportunity to educate their employees about the importance of financial wellness all year long.

Read Also: Why Do They Turn Down Free Money?!

According to PwC US’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 52 percent of respondents said they are stressed about their finances, while 45 percent noted an increase in their stress rate over the last 12 months. After further analysis, researchers determined that the primary cause of the stress is rooted in their inability to deal with unforeseen expenses, such as automobile or home repairs. Combined with the pressure to navigate the growing cost of higher education and the responsibility to saving for retirement, you have the makings for a perfect stress storm.

It’s pretty clear that it’s never been more important to understand the implications positive spending habits have on the wellbeing of our employees. Particularly among millennials, as the PwC study noted that the stress level of this generational group was dramatically worse than the others due to the increased level of student debt felt by this age group.

Furthermore, there is a clear correlation between an employee’s stress rate due to financial hardship and reduced productivity, higher healthcare costs, increased risk of occupational fraud and lower retirement readiness. Even in this recent study, as reported by Accounting Today, 79 percent of millennials in the workforce say “their student loans have a moderate or significant impact on their ability to meet their other financial goals.”

Employers are in a position to make financial wellness a priority before the stress workers are feeling has a chance to boil over and impact the company’s bottom line. Similar to the information and incentives your company provides with regard to wellness programs aimed at improving employee health, financial wellness programs are available to employers who are willing to step in and help their employees achieve greater financial success. Some methods are free and some have costs associated with them, but regardless of what you choose, the most effective programs are those that take a more holistic approach.

Darlene Finzer, CPA, QKA, CSA, a principal and director of benefit plan audit services at Rea & Associates spoke about financial wellness on episode 19 of unsuitable on Rea Radio. The episode, called “It Starts with a Penny,” does a great job explaining the importance of financial wellness, the risks employers should be aware of that could result from high levels of financial stress and solutions to help get your workforce on the right track. You can listen to the episode in the media player below or click here to access the episode, financial calculators and additional resources.

By Kimberly Veal, CPA (Lima office)

Check out these articles for more insight into the issues of financial wellness and retirement readiness.

Americans Falling Short On Retirement Savings

Debt vs. Taxes: Should You Pay Off Your Loan?

Don’t Miss Your Chance To Secure Tax-Free Wealth

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Environmentally Friendly Tax Savings

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

For the last 46 years the global population has come together to channel “human energy toward environmental issues.” On April 22, 2016, the world will once again celebrate Earth Day. You can find a wealth of information on the official Earth Day website, including information about this year’s theme, Trees for the Earth. You can also find some great tips to help you become more energy efficient or help you spread the word about climate change and other topics.

Businesses Can Go Green And Save Green

For business owners, going green can result in significant tax savings as well, which can make environmental responsibility that much more desirable. Take a look at this slide show and find out how green certain eco-friendly initiatives can help strengthen your company’s bottom line.

Environmentally Friendly Tax Cuts For Business Owners from Rea & Associates

Do you want to start saving on your 2016 tax bill? Email Rea & Associates to find out how you can use environmentally friendly tax planning initiatives to ease the tax burden on your business.

By Brian Kempf, CPA (Millersburg office)

Are you looking for more tax tips? Check out these articles:

Go Green For The Planet And Pocket The Savings

Can Making Your Building Green Save On Taxes?

5 Tax Deductions To Ease Your Business’s Tax Burden

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Can A Cybercriminal Crack Your Company’s Network?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
Ransomware Attack | Cybercriminals Target Businesses | Ohio CPA Firm

Ransomware has become a formidable threat to businesses of all sizes, yet I have worked with quite a few business owners who are unfamiliar with the term. This is particularly unnerving as a Ransomware attack can be catastrophic to the financial stability of your business. Read on for tips to help you prevent a Ransomware attack from taking down your business.

Small and midsize businesses are not immune to becoming the target of a crippling cyberattack and without the proper procedures in place business owners risk the very real threat of a large-scale assault on their company’s data. Would you be able to recover if your organization was attacked?

Instances of cybercrime have reached an all-time high and ensuring that your company has the procedures in place to guard against an army of determined fraudsters is more important than ever. But before you can implement effective controls, you must have a clear understanding of what it is that threatens your business.

Know Your Enemy

Ransomware has become a formidable threat to businesses of all sizes, yet I have worked with quite a few business owners who are unfamiliar with the term. This is particularly unnerving as a Ransomware attack can be catastrophic to the financial stability of your business.

Read Also: Could Your Company Be Ransomware’s Next Victim?

Ransomware is the infection of a computer which immediately encrypts all recognizable file types. Once your network is infected, a screen appears on your monitor demanding that the company pay a ransom in exchange for the data to be “decrypted” and released. A timeframe is established by the hackers and it is made clear that if the ransom is not paid before the deadline, the organization’s data will be destroyed.

4 Tips To Help Prevent A Ransomware Attack

To protect your business against Ransomware and other similar threats:

  1.  Train your employees to identify phishing emails.
    Numerous vendors can provide your company phishing tests and video training to help educate your employees about phishing emails and ways to identify possible scams. Specifically, work to change the mindset of those within your organization when it comes to opening attachments and clicking on hyperlinks.
  2. Set employee Microsoft Active Directory rights.
    It’s unlikely that all your employees will need full-access to your company’s entire database to do their jobs. One way to protect your data is to only grant access to the data needed for employees to complete their job responsibilities. This way, if an attack does occur, the damage can be isolated.
  3. Consider implementing programs such as Microsoft “AppLocker.”
    When you implement programs like AppLocker, you require users to be assigned access to the programs they need to utilize. Again, this helps to isolate the threat which can help minimize the impact of an attack.
  4. Implement a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan.
    Some research indicates that only about 35 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses have a working and comprehensive disaster recovery plan. We are learning time and time again just how important it is to have a plan in place to protect your business when crisis strikes. A DR plan, complete with regular plan testing and offsite backup data, will help prepare you for unforeseen events which, under current circumstances, could prove to be catastrophic. Click here to learn more about the benefits of a DR plan and how they can keep your organization and its data safe.

Guard Your Data With These Best Practices

Monitor for irregularities

If your network is infected, you can eliminate or decrease the threat of Personally Identifiable Information (such as financial records, medical information or intellectual property) from being infiltrated by utilizing an Intrusion Detection System or Security Information & Event Management application or service. These applications are designed to monitor for invalid access attempts, outgoing traffic identification and other significant alerts.

Require two-factor authentication

Many breaches are the result of access that has been granted to a third-party vendor. Oftentimes the vendor’s network will become infected and can lead to the breach of your own organization. While the data breach may not have originated within your organization, you are responsible for the inroads that were ultimately exploited by hackers to gain access into your network. A best practice is to require all vendors to utilize two-factor authentication or direct contact with your IT staff in order to gain access to your company’s network. Your networks should never be directly accessible to any outside vendor.

These tips can help you protect your organization from cybercriminals, but they only provide an initial layer of security. New threats are being developed every day and existing threats are evolving rapidly. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and regularly test for weaknesses in your company’s armor. One day, your business will be the focus of a cyberattack. Will you be ready?

Email Rea & Associates for more information about protecting your business from cybercrime.

By Joe Welker, CISA (New Philadelphia office)

Check out these articles to learn more about Ransomware and other cyberattacks on businesses:

How Much Is Your Data Worth To Criminals?

Businesses Beware: Sloppy Data Security Could Cost You

Then & Now: Data Security In America Since The Target Breach

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