Running a business may seem like a dream come true. Maybe you come up with a concept and put the funding in place to get it off the ground. Perhaps someone else owns the company, but they put you in charge.
Either way, once you’re making the big decisions that determine the company’s future, you should know about potential threats that exist. You might find running a company exciting and fun, but that can change abruptly if something goes wrong.
We’ll talk about some possible business threats that lurk out in the world. As someone running a company, knowing about those dangers can help you a great deal.
Data breaches leaked an estimated 1.5 billion users’ personally identifiable information last year. That’s a pretty terrifying statistic.
The term “personally identifiable information” means a profile that reveals all kinds of things about a person. It might show where in the country they live, or it could even include their home address. That profile might consist of their cell phone number, their buying habits, their marital status, etc.
Data collection companies come up with these profiles, usually for marketing purposes. They collect that information by using cookies to track the sites that a computer user visits and the keyword phrases for which they search online.
It’s difficult for a computer user to block companies from collecting that information against their will. At the very least, they would like to think they’re only giving their most sensitive information, like their credit card numbers, to companies voluntarily.
Your company needs excellent security measures to keep hackers from stealing customer information. If a customer trusts you with their credit card number, shipping address, phone number, etc., they want to know that you have security protocols to keep hackers from getting that data.
A data breach can bring your company a lot of bad publicity, so make sure you have your IT department install security measures that will prevent one from happening.
Maybe you have a central location where you manufacture your products or provide your services. If you own a larger company, you may have multiple locations.
If you don’t provide a safe working environment for your employees, one of them could easily hurt themselves while on the job. Presumably, you have workers’ compensation insurance, which should help the injured employee. However, if you don’t have safe practices in place, these accidents might happen pretty often.
If a worker feels like you were negligent and didn’t maintain a safe work environment, they might sue you, especially if they feel like they’re experiencing pain and suffering from their injury that workers’ comp doesn’t cover. Also, if this happens more than once, you might have OSHA breathing down your neck.
They might hit you with some hefty fines, and they could even close down your operation until you fix the problems. When you try to hire new workers, they might shy away from your company because they hear that you don’t provide safe working conditions.
You might also have to deal with industrial espionage. Espionage can take many forms. You may have a competing company that hires hackers who try to break into your computer system and shut it down.
The hackers might also try to steal your proprietary information. If you have a secret method that you use to create your products, they can get it and turn it over to another company.
If you have a monopoly on your industry, that could ruin it. It would be like Coca-Cola’s recipe getting out or a rival chicken franchise gaining access to KFC’s proprietary herb and spice blend.
You also have to watch out for other companies sending individuals to pose as your employees to steal inside information and bring it back to them. You should do a deep background check when you’re about to hire any new employee, especially if you’re placing them in a high-ranking position.
You can have an agency that conducts investigations into every potential new team member. They can find out information like whether they have a criminal background, but they can also see if they have any previous association with one of your competitors.
Many other potential threats exist that can hurt your business, and you should watch out for all of them. Having security guards in your building can help, and you can issue swipe cards for employees so they can only access areas you deem acceptable.