The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Small Business Cybersecurity

Cyber Security Tricks for Small BusinessCybersecurity is a growing concern for all types of businesses as hacking and identity theft get more and more common. You can significantly reduce your risks by being vigilant and taking certain precautions. Here are the top five small business security tips to help you stay safe.

1. Create a Security Strategy

The most important step in safeguarding your business is to actually have a concrete cybersecurity policy in place. While most large companies do, this is often not the case with small and mid-sized businesses. Make sure all important data is backed up. Install security patches as necessary. Use the most up-date versions of all software that your business uses. Your cybersecurity policy should be regularly updated to reflect the latest threats as well as the latest advances in security technology.

2. Apply a Layered Approach to Security

Security is not so much a matter of doing one particular thing right. It actually depends on a variety of precautions and strategies. These include robust security software, a solid firewall, thorough education of your staff and ongoing monitoring of your system for unusual activity. A layered approach is one where you apply several steps to keep yourself secure and make sure everyone in your business is on board with your strategy.

3. Limit Admin Access

The more people who have admin access, the greater your risks. This isn’t only because people who have access are dishonest but because people get careless and make mistakes. By limiting admin access to a few trusted individuals, you reduce the risks associated with lots of people logging into your system.

4. Insure Yourself Against Cybercrime

Because cyberattacks are now so rampant, certain insurance companies are now offering policies that are specifically geared to this problem. A cyber insurance policy can help you rest easier in the event that an attack does occur. Naturally, you should still do everything you can to prevent such an event as an attack can severely disrupt your business even if you are compensated.

5. Monitor and Secure Employee Devices

In some cases, it’s employee’s personal devices rather than company ones that cause breaches in security. It’s important to have a policy in place that balances the monitoring and securing of such devices while still giving employees sufficient privacy. Make sure you’re transparent about your policies so employees know what to expect. For example, you might reserve the right to monitor only work-related communications on personal devices.

Online security may not seem like a crucial issue but if you ever experience an attack it will suddenly become incredibly important. Prevention is always the best policy and the above guidelines can help you stay prepared and reduce the chances of a cyber attack. Small business security is one way to help your business thrive in the modern world. Another way is to enhance your cash flow.

Lack of cash flow is a common problem that prevents many small businesses from reaching their true potential. One of the simplest and most powerful ways to improve your cash flow is to get invoice factoring, a process that lets you get paid for accounts receivable up front. To learn more, contact Riviera Finance today.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – Do You Need Them All?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & SnapChat - Do You Need All of ThemSocial media for business is no longer optional. You can be sure that most of your customers are active on social media. There are, however, many sites from which to choose. Let’s look at some of the most popular social media platforms for business so you can make a better decision about whether or not you need to use all of them.

Facebook

At 13-years old with around two billion active users, every business really needs a presence here. While certain sites are more specialized, Facebook is extremely broad and used by almost everyone today. Facebook also provides many options for marketing and engagement. Organic content, as with your Facebook page and daily posts is free. Paid advertising with Facebook ads provides many targeting options, making it relevant to every type of business.

Twitter

Twitter, though not as large as Facebook, is large and popular in its own right with more than 300 million users. Twiter is one of the best sites for communicating timely news. Indeed, many people share breaking news with their tweets. It does have a couple of limitations, though. The shortness of messages and the speed at which the feed moves means that it’s hard to ensure people are actually seeing your tweets. On the other hand, Twitter recently expanded the maximum number of characters from 140 to 280 characters, though it remains to be seen if this is permanent or just a test. Twitter also provides advertising options as with sponsored tweets. You can leverage Twitter by seeking relevant people to follow, joining groups and chats and posting live videos.

Instagram

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is a fast-growing visual platform with close to 700 million users. Instagram is a mobile-based service with a young user base. Instagram is especially useful if your business has products or services that can be depicted in an appealing way with images. This includes physical products as well as anything in the hospitality industries such as travel and restaurants. With appealing features such as photo filters and editing options, Instagram encourages users to express their creativity. If your business uses Instagram, it’s helpful to engage with followers and encourage them to submit their own photos. Instagram advertising works under the Facebook platform, so it’s easy to integrate a marketing strategy that combines both sites.

Snapchat

Like Instagram, Snapchat is a platform that’s made specifically for mobile. Snapchat is especially popular with teens and millennials. The distinctive feature of Snapchat is that content is only visible for up to 24 hours. Creating Snapchat Stories is useful if you want to create excitement with a promotion or live event. You can also leverage the Geofilters feature, which lets you associate your content with a specific location. The Snapchat app has gradually expanded to include chat, messaging, image storage, events and media content. Snapchat is a powerful social media platform for presenting timely content that can be showcased with images and video.

Do You Need Them All?

Do you need to be on all of these social media platforms for business? The answer really depends on your business and the demographics of your customers. Facebook and Twitter are sufficiently large and broad that you could use them for any type of business. Instagram and Snapchat, meanwhile are more limited in that they’re geared to mobile and are image-based. One issue we’ve found with many business owners who engage in social media marketing is they are not consistent with using these free marketing platforms; meaning they start an account and post a few times and then don’t post again for a while. Consistency is key.

If you’re not certain about how to best use social media for business, the best approach is to test your results on different platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can all be very useful for marketing. The key is to find the sites that perform best for you and devise your own unique strategy for engaging with your followers.

If you’re looking to grow your business and need capital to help your growth plans, find out how invoice factoring can help you accomplish this goal.

Round Up of Free Business Resources

Free Small Business Resources for Advice and ConsultingIf you’re looking for helpful information on small business resources, such as accounting, consulting, recruiting, legal or others, there are a lot of great business resources available. The list of small business advice resources could go on forever, but we’ve picked a few in each category we think are worth mentioning.

As small businesses grow and evolve, they are going to need new resources and partners to rely on and work with in order to continue business growth. Here are some resources for small business advice and help.

Accounting, Bookkeeping or Tax Services

Every successful small business needs to have a good accounting, bookkeeping or tax partner in order to follow state and federal regulations and ensure positive cash flow. Here are a few resources you could use.

Business Consulting Services

Business consulting services can help you with business process, start up help or general business best practices. Here are a few resources you may want to use.

  • Small Business Association (SBA) – Offers support for business plan, general business practices and other free resources
  • Small Business Development Center – Each state has their own center with free resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs
  • SCORE– Online business workshops and podcasts, free mentoring and other business resources
  • Business USA – Start a business wizard is an online tool that helps you prepare an action plan to start your new business

Legal Assistance

Most small businesses will need legal advice at one point or another. Here are a few online legal services.

  • Free Advice– Free advice on small business law
  • FindLaw– FindLaw has a large database of lawyers in your area
  • Nolo– Free legal information, law books, legal software and legal forms

Staffing and Recruiting Services

As businesses grow it can be hard to find the right people to join your team. Here are some staffing and recruiting resources.

Web Design and Digital Marketing

In today’s world, it’s important to have a quality website and digital marketing help in order to continue business growth and generate new business. Here are some businesses that specialize in website design and marketing.

  • Gravitate Design Studio– Custom web and print design solutions
  • Wix – Free website builder that allows you to select a template and build a website
  • Semper Fi – Offers design, development and support for WordPress websites
  • Moxie Digital – Digital marketing strategy and management, such as SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing

For most business owners, finding quality partners may be a hard task. It’s not always easy to know what services you need and who to work with. Riviera Finance has partnered with small business for more than 40 years to help them manage cash flow with invoice factoring services.

See how easy it is to sign up as a Riviera client and get paid in 24 hours!

Best Ways to Upgrade Cybersecurity For Your Small Business

How to Upgrade Your Cybersecurity for Your Small BusinessCybercrime is an ever-increasing problem that costs businesses millions of dollars each year. Some small business owners are under the misconception that hackers only target large companies. Unfortunately, the recent trend is to go after smaller businesses. The reason for this is that small businesses tend to have less robust security systems in place. We recently shared some guidelines to “fraud-proof” your business. In this article, we’ll go into more depth and look at some additional small business cybersecurity tips.

Have a Company-wide System for Cybersecurity

It’s essential to have a plan that everyone in your business understands and followers to the letter. Update this system frequently and keep everyone informed when you make changes. Some of the most important policies to implement include:

  • Install the latest security patches for all of your systems.
  • Use off-site backup. This ensures you won’t lose everything if your data is compromised.
  • Don’t keep devices and systems online any more than necessary. This minimizes the potential for attacks.

Make Sure Employees’ Personal Devices are Secure

In some cases, employee’s personal devices are the easiest target for hackers. That’s why it’s good to enforce rules about personal devices at work. Make sure employees change their passwords frequently, never share passwords and don’t download sensitive business information to their personal devices unless it’s authorized.

Use a Layered Approach to Cybersecurity

The most secure systems are safeguarded using a layered approach rather than focusing on just one or two processes. Some layers to implement are:

  • Firewalls and Antivirus Software – Use trusted software and keep it updated.
  • Physical Security – Make sure computers aren’t left unattended. Maintain strong security for your workplace. Shred sensitive documents and destroy hard drives no longer in use.
  • Email Security – Employees should know not to click on suspicious links and fall victim to phishing schemes.
  • Passwords – Passwords must be difficult to guess, changed frequently and never shared with unauthorized individuals.
  • Secure Your WiFi – Using the most secure WPA2 protocols helps keep your WiFi network secure. Make sure your router passwords are secure.
  • Two-factor authentication – This makes it more difficult for hackers to access a system and change your password.
  • Limit Admin Access – It’s a simple fact that the more people who have access to a system, the greater the risk. By limiting access to admins, you help to reduce both internal and external security threats.

Take Out a Cyber Insurance Policy

This is a relatively new type of insurance that protects you financially in case you’re the victim of a cyber-attack. While it’s best to do everything in your power to prevent such attacks, a cyber insurance policy can give you peace of mind in case it happens anyway.

These small business cybersecurity tips will help to keep your business safer. For more small business success tips, including a way to improve your cash flow with invoice factoring, visit Riviera Finance today.

4 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Business

How to Avoid Financial Mistakes in BusinessIf you own a business, financial mistakes can be fatal. At the very least, they can prevent you from enjoying the level of success you want. In many cases, apparently small mistakes of which you’re unaware hold you back. Let’s look at four common and potentially devastating money mistakes to avoid if you want a more successful business.

  1. Paying For Everything

If you have the mentality that something is more valuable because it costs more, you’re probably overpaying for many tools and resources for your business. Furthermore, you may be overlooking lots of helpful free resources. For example, Google Analytics has many of the same benefits of much costlier analytics software. When it comes to content and education, there are lots of free business resources in the form of blogs, free online courses, videos, and podcasts. Before you pay for another high-end seminar, find out if you can learn the same thing much cheaper or even free online.

  1. Not Charging Enough

Deciding how much to charge is always one of your most significant business finance issues. While it makes intuitive sense that the less you charge the more customers you’ll have, this isn’t always the case. If your rates are too low, people undervalue your products. There are also less noticeable ways that you might be undercharging, such as by adding on bonuses or extra services along with your main product. Rather than doing this, think of ways to use upsells and add-ons that contribute to your profits rather than drain your time.

  1. Not Offering Customers Flexible Options

Lack of flexibility is another mistake that can harm your business finances. Accepting more methods of payment expands your potential customer base. Accepting a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, PayPal, money orders and maybe even Bitcoins will mean more people are likely to order from you. On a similar note, give people several shipping options. Customers like to have choices and the more flexible you are the more convenient it is for them to buy from you.

  1. Trying to Grow Too Fast

While it’s great to be ambitious and have an inspiring long-term vision for your business, if you try to do too much too soon, there’s the danger of overextending yourself. Signs that you may be doing this are buying tools and equipment you don’t yet need, renting large or fancy office space or overspending on advertising rather than starting small and testing your results. The most impressive success stories in business don’t usually happen overnight. They implemented a step-by-step plan and grew gradually and organically.

These are some of the money mistakes that many businesses make. If you pay attention to these potential pitfalls, you’re less likely to fall victim to them. Business finance issues are crucial to your success. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, all you can do is resolve to do better with your business finances in the future. There are certain resources that can help you make progress.

One way to get better control over your business finances is to take advantage of the invoice factoring services offered by Riviera Finance.  Call us or contact a representative near you!