Cyber Security Tips for Business Owners

CyberSecurityTipsIf you own a business, your list of stressors is probably vast: Sales, employee turnover, competition — so the last thing you want to worry about is your cyber security. Nevertheless, it’s important to establish an official security plan. Why? Cyber fraud (any crime that involves a computer and/or network) is becoming more and more of a frequent issue. In fact, companies with 250 employees or less suffered more than 30 percent of all online attacks last year (up from about 18 percent in 2011), according to Symantec.com’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report.

“Cyber criminals are business people, too,” said Arild Jensen, owner of Secos Security, a Granada Hills, CA firm that specializes in cyber security for small businesses. “They’re going to go for the easiest, most rewarding target.”

Fear not. Here are five easy ways to make sure your business’s Internet environment is as secure as it can be.

1. Choose strong passwords. Make sure passwords — for e-mail, Wi-Fi, websites and other platforms — are secure. The most important aspect of creating a password: How long it is.

“The length of the password matters more than its absolute complexity,” explains Steve Gibson, president of Gibson Research in CA. They should be eight or more characters. For even more protection, include letters, numbers, punctuation or special symbols, like an exclamation point.

2. Stay up to date — on everything. That means having the latest security software, web browser, operating system, etc., which can help guard against viruses, malware and other online threats. Most of these programs can be set to update automatically. Also important: Whenever you update your antivirus software, make sure to run a scan afterward. Installing or updating your antispyware technology is crucial as well. Spyware — as the title suggests — essentially spies on you, and is able to access personal information from your business without you knowing.

3. Pay attention to Wi-Fi. Rename your office network and change the password often, about every five or six months.

“Almost anyone can go online and find software that will automatically break into [the network],” explains Michael Hicks, director of the University of Maryland — College Park’s Cybersecurity Center. Tip: Avoid making the network title your company’s name.

4. Work with your financial institution. Ask your financial institution about protection programs. They may be able to offer a plan that allows you to monitor any suspicious activity that has occurred, like checking payments that you don’t recognize. This can help you prevent any unauthorized transactions before they occur.

5. Back up your data regularly. Sometimes, even when you do everything right, hacking can still occur. Having backup copies of important business data and information ensures that you’ll never have to start from square one. Store extra files (everything from Word documents and spreadsheets to human resource info and financial files) at a location other than your office. To make it easier, set up your files so they get backed up automatically.

6. Educate your employees.
Making sure workers are up to speed on the safest online tactics means less of a chance of a cyber mishap. Also instill the importance of not posting any confidential business-related information on social media platforms they may have, and that they don’t store business-related information on personal hard drives. Your employee’s passwords should also be different from what they use for personal passwords.

 

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Budget for a Happy Holiday Season

OnlineBankingENYour mom is going to love that holiday gift you bought her, and your grandpa, well, you just can’t wait for him to open your present. What about your dad, have you thought of a good gift for him?

Budgeting for everyone on your holiday list can be difficult, that’s why Merchants Bank has thought of ways to help you track your spending and access your accounts in the palm of your hands.

Merchants Bank Online Banking customers have access to a personal financial management tool, “Manage My Money.”

It’s like having your own personal money management software without having to purchase expensive software. All from the comfort of your home or your office.

You can do a great deal with this free tool, including:

  • Follow your net worth and watch the value of your real estate holdings
  • Consolidate and track your investments, such as stocks and your 401k
  • See where you’re spending your money by tracking your purchases by category or in general
  • Generate reports on spending, expenses and credit card utilization
  • Set budgets and receive alerts if you go over budget
  • Create custom reports especially for you
  • Link to your accounts, no matter where they are held

That’s just the beginning, and you’ll find it easy to use. It’s as simple as logging on to your Merchants Bank online banking and then following the prompts for “Manage My Money.”The help doesn’t stop with “Manage My Money.” Merchants Bank Mobile Banking makes it easy for you to get a quick update on your accounts when and where you need it. Using Mobile Banking allows you to get more things done because it’s easy, convenient and fast. With Mobile Banking, you can do all of your banking on the go.

Click here for more information on Mobile Banking or download details.

Don’t forget to budget for everyone on your holiday list. Track spending and access accounts in the palm of your hand with Merchants Bank’s “Manage My Money” and Mobile Banking.

If you need help, just give us a call at (866) 496-0522, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Snowbirds, Are You Going Away for the Winter?

SnowbirdENIf you’re going away for the winter, please let us know so that we can be sure to send your important information from Merchants Bank.

You can change your address in one of two ways. You can come in and see one of our Customer Service Representatives. They can set up the change and set up a time for the address to automatically convert when you return.

The other way to change your address is through Online Banking. Go to “Other Services” and then “Change of Address.” If you change your address this way, you need to remember to change it back when you return.

You’ll also want to let your other important contacts know where you’re going to be, so they can be in touch. We have “Snowbird Kit” information available for download on our website under “How Can We Help You?”.

Don’t forget to change your address when you travel south for the winter so you can enjoy your time away knowing that Merchants Bank will be able to send you the information you need.

Enjoy A Service that Can Save You Money

OnlineBankingENDo you want access to your account any time you want? How about a service that is free and can also save you money? Well, you’re in luck because Merchants Bank has just what you’re looking for. Our Online Banking service is free to our customers and allows for you to access your account when you need to.

Your time is valuable. Merchants Online Banking gives you convenient, easy to use, secure access to your accounts via the Internet. With Online Banking, you will have access to Bill Pay and Manage My Money, which will help you get the most of your banking needs.

Bill Pay allows you to pay virtually any one or any company through your Online Banking account. Save money on your postage, checks, and envelopes when you pay for your bills online instead of by mail. You decide who you want to pay, when you want to make the payment, and the account you want the payment to come from. It’s that easy.

Manage My Money is a Personal Financial Management (PFM) tool that is offered by Merchants Bank through Online Banking. You can get a complete picture of your financial information with Manage My Money. Track your spending, create budget goals, get account balances, bill due date alerts and much more, so that you can stay in control of your finances.

Take advantage of a great service, like the Online Banking, offered at Merchants Bank. Save time and money while you make safe and secure transactions with Online Banking. Click for more information on Online Banking.

Merchants Bank cares about what you think because it is important to us that we are providing you with the best service that we can. Please take a few moments to tell us what you think by answering the questions in this survey. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to learning more about how we can serve you better.

Back to School

Back To SchoolGet Everything on Your List

Notebooks, check. Pens, check. Pencils, check. Open an account at the bank, check.

Going back to school can be a difficult process, but not with Merchants Bank. Merchants can help your student start the school year off right with a new account and Merchants Bank Mobile Banking.

With the busy school year just around the corner, it‘s important to start thinking about what your student needs for school. Merchants Bank has accounts that are not only convenient, but also easy to track. You can access your accounts on the go with Merchants Bank Mobile Banking and Online Banking. You can also get any information you need at any of our convenient locations.

Having an account will help your student learn the importance of saving, balancing, and responsibility of having an account. Sign your student up for an account today, so they can start learning how to keep track of their money now.

Merchants Bank offers many student solutions for high school and college students. Read more about our student solutions here.

Don’t make this school year harder than it needs to be, let Merchants Bank help you check every item off your school list.