Most business owners are focused on protecting themselves from traditional theft, but the threat of extortion slips their minds.
The internet has made it easier for extortionists to attack your business, but people are still up to old school methods that can prove to be just as harmful. Extortion is a threat that most professionals don’t see coming.
Keep your eyes open, and implement some preliminary protections that might come in handy later on.
Up Your Cyber Security
Cyber extortion is when hackers or a malicious software program gains access to sensitive information that is crucial to your business. Make sure you’re always using a safe internet connection that prevents vulnerabilities.
Most businesses use VPNs to keep their info safe. Make sure you’re updating your antivirus software every time you’re prompted to. Purchase new tech equipment every few years, because older equipment isn’t always designed to work with newer software.
Improve Your Building Security
Sometimes, extortion comes from shady characters who just so happen to be in the right place at the right time. If you want to keep these kinds of people away from your business, make sure your security is strong.
Keep lights around dark parts of your building and in your parking lot to discourage people from sneaking around in the dark. Install visible security cameras that malicious people would be able to see.
Control How Information is Sent and Received
If you want to prevent information from getting into the wrong hands, you’ll need to control where all of your information goes.
Every business needs to have some level of sensitive information on the record in order to function, but it’s best to limit the collection of that information to what’s absolutely necessary.
Detect Suspicious Behavior Early
Do you have a regular customer or a current employee who seems to be acting out of the ordinary?
Are they asking a lot more questions than usual, or venturing into areas of the business where they have no real reason to be? Are they volunteering to help with projects that don’t relate to them in any way, or asking personal questions about you or your employees?
This could be a sign that they’re planning something that won’t end well for you. Recognize the warning signs, and address the issue early on.
Keep Your Loose Ends Tied
If you recently had a bad experience with a customer or you’ve had to suddenly terminate an employee, you might be at risk of being on the receiving end of some kind of revenge. If you can’t do anything to improve the experience for an angry customer, make sure you don’t allow this person in or around your business again.
If it’s an employee you fired, make sure you’ve released this person in a mutually agreeable way. Grant them everything they were entitled to upon leaving, and offer yourself as a positive reference for future employment.
If you’ve fired this employee for committing another kind of crime against your business, get preemptive legal protection immediately.
If you find that you’re being extorted by anyone, address the issue immediately. Don’t assume threats aren’t credible or that the situation will go away on its own. Turn to the law as soon as someone has threatened you, and treat every potential extortionist as though they’re serious.
Lucy Taylor is a legal expert with over 5 years of experience helping both businesses and individuals deal with legal issues. At the moment, Lucy is supporting LY Lawyers, a law firm from Australia. Feel free to follow Lucy on her Twitter.