Author Archives: Forbin Admin

Web Security for Small Business Owners – What You Need to Know

It’s a typical day for a local real estate agent, until the click of an email threatens the entire business. Large corporations, small businesses and as shown in recent days, not even the government is immune to cyber attacks.

Why it’s Important

If you’re a small business owner, you may think you are too small for cybercriminals. However, the opposite is true as they don’t particularly care about the size of the data, but the value. If you have customer’s contact information, health data, credit card information or intellectual property- they want it now. Did you know that 43 percent of cyber attacks target small business, and that normal hacks to operations cost an average of $955,429 to recover? It’s of the utmost importance that your customers feel they can trust you with their information and that you follow through on that trust. Cybercrime is becoming the world’s largest business, and here is what you can do to protect your business -even if you don’t have a lot of room in your budget for security measures.

1). Tight Communication

You may not have the ability to provide each of your employees with their own technology devices, which means they may use personal devices for company use. This can open you up to many potential risks. You may want to create guidelines for using these devices and ensure that they are regularly updating passwords and following through on security updates. Fax is still the most secure form of communication in the business world-don’t be afraid to still utilize this!

2). An Action Plan

Create a simple security plan and share it with all of your employees, so they know that everyone is responsible for protecting data. It is worth the investment to hire an IT consultant to be monitoring your protocols, but if you cannot do that at this time, designate a current employee to oversee this. They should be informed, oversee basic security requirements and ensure the requirements are updated and used. Sixty percent of businesses don’t survive a security attack. For the longevity of your business, it is incredibly important to take this seriously. Use the FCC’s helpful Cyber Planner here.

3). Strong Passwords, Patching & Encryption Software

Most businesses stay ahead of the game by simply creating secure passwords and patching their systems. Patching fixes security vulnerabilities with bug fixes and improving performance. Hackers can easily crack into your business through a weak web or email server.  As a small business, setting up a Virtual Private Server would be a terrific option combined with encryption software. So even if a hacker was able to get into your system, they wouldn’t be able to decipher the material. An additional layer of security for clients would be to adopt PayPal or Square for protecting your customer’s financial information.

4). Educate

Unfortunately, most security breaches are due to a negligent employee or contractor. This reiterates how important it is to hire people you trust. Although you may not be able to thwart off every threat, educating your employees about cyber security either through weekly articles or full courses will help to better protect your growing small business. These practices should be integrated across all areas of your operations as well as having a response plan if this does occur. Remember, nobody is safe from Cybercrime.

 

Dreamin’ of Summer- Saving for Your Next Vacation

The monotony of the day to day can get you down in the season of cold and gray. However, that beach on your screensaver doesn’t have to be an esteemed fantasy if you are ready to take some action. You can turn your ideal vacation into a reality by starting to save and plan that getaway now, before travel season hits in full.

Create a Budget

If you are thinking about a vacation, you are definitely going to need to establish a budget to keep your spending in check. Some budgeters swear by the 50/30/20 rule. This is a simplified budget where you allot 50% of your after-tax income to necessities, 30% for wants and 20% for savings. Adjust this as you need. We all know that adding kids into the mixture of vacations increases prices exponentially, so you may want to increase savings, and see what you can go without.  See if you can even tap into a Grandparents Travel Grant.

Set Up an Account

Stop by First Security State Bank to speak with one of our specialists about options for savings accounts. We recommend setting up an automatic withdrawal to come from your account each month, or asking your employer to put a portion of your paycheck into a different account. For a majority of people, if the money is there, it will get spent, so having an automatic savings will keep you on track of your goals.

Decide How Much You Need

Get a grasp of how much your vacation will cost you. That means calculating hotels, food and flight. However, don’t forget the expenses you will still have while traveling. You will still have your normal bills and you may need to pay a local kid to get your mail or a business to board Fido. Divide this amount by the number of weeks until your desired vacation date.

Go the Extra Mile

When calculating this all out, don’t be dismayed. This vacation can be attainable for you, as long as you stick to the process. It just may not be in the exact time frame you desire. Keep yourself motivated by listening to music, looking at pictures and eating food reminiscent of your destination. Go the extra mile to scrap for savings everywhere you can. Clean out your closets and post them for sale. Start a change jar or carpool to work. You will be surprised that by putting in the extra effort your savings can increase fairly quickly as your spending depletes and scrappiness grows. Best of luck, and please let us know how we can help you reach your goals at First Security State Bank!

Habits of People Who Live Debt-Free.

If you’re an adult living in America, chances are you’re living with debt. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, roughly 80% of American adults are in financial debt. You can see how it happens, between student loan payments, mortgage payments, car payments and credit card use, it’s easy to get yourself into debt and it can be tough to climb out.

 

But, how can you help yourself live debt-free? It is possible, and First Security State Bank has some tips that you can use. Some are tips that you can do right away, while others will require a dedicated approach over an extended period of time.

 

Create a Plan for the Future

It’s easier to implement money saving strategies when you have a goal in mind. Whether you’re looking to save for a purchase or to pay down debt, you need to set a budget to follow every month, and then stick to it. It’s also crucial for you to closely monitor your finances by checking your statements and reviewing your account balances so you can note any abnormalities from the budget you’ve set.

 

Trim the Fat

The best way to make sure you can keep yourself out of debt is to limit your spending. This is easier said than done. Whether it’s limiting your credit card use to emergencies or saying no to a friend who wants to go out for a night on the town, cutting back on spending is the best way to keep yourself out of debt. If you choose to live on less than you make, you’ll save long-term.

 

Cash is Your Friend

While your credit and debit card make it incredibly easy to make purchases, carrying cash can actually help you spend less in the long run. If you limit yourself to carrying cash, you know exactly how much money you have (or don’t have). This allows you to be more careful with your money and more diligent about your purchase decisions.

Living debt-free takes hard work and dedication. But, just like anything that requires patience, the payoff once you’ve reached your goal is worth all the work. Let First Security State Bank help you develop the habits to live debt-free so you can live with less stress.

 

Organizing Your Finances for the Holiday Rush

The holidays are a time where we surround ourselves with family, friends and the people we love most. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling across the country, the holiday season means you’ll be eating good food and spending plenty of time shopping.

And while all that food may mean your clothes fit a little tighter, the shopping can have a similar impact on your wallet. It’s important to make sure your finances are organized before the real holiday rush is upon us. Not only will you be better prepared, but you’ll be less stressed so you can enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.

Make your holiday season more enjoyable by using these tips from First Security State Bank.

Technology Is Your Friend

It’s easier than ever to use technology to organize your finances. Take advantage of online and mobile banking to get a real-time look at your account balances. Utilize the mobile deposit feature of your mobile banking app to deposit personal checks to your account so the funds are available sooner. There are also several financial management tools available online that will help you with setting a budget and establishing saving goals.

Set Alerts

You already know that your bills are due at different times throughout the month, but it’s important to remember that the holidays may cause changes in those due dates. Verify any upcoming due dates and make note of any changes from your regular monthly payment schedule. Utilize the bill pay features of your online banking account to make sure payments are scheduled well in advance, and set up alerts to make sure you’re reminded of your payment and to verify that the payment went through.

Hold On To Your Statements

This is hard to remember throughout the year, but keeping all of your statements organized is important. Something as simple as keeping separate manila folders for your savings and checking account statements, IRA statements, 401(k) records and other financial documents can go a long way and won’t cost you much.

Get Rid of High Interest Debt

It can seem easier to use your credit card when holiday shopping. To make sure you can use your credit during the holidays, make sure you’ve paid down anything you owe.

Organizing your finances before the holidays hit will make the season more enjoyable so you can focus on the things that matter most. Contact First Security State Bank to make sure your finances are set up for a happy holiday season.