Big cybersecurity attacks make big news. You may have read about the Russian breach of SolarWinds in 2020, or the Chinese hacking of Microsoft Exchange servers in 2021. After the attack on Colonial Pipeline later that year, the company had to pay millions to restore systems supporting critical infrastructure.
It can be easy to assume that bad actors target large organizations because they have their eyes on big payouts. But hackers are equal-opportunity criminals. They’re looking for vulnerability wherever they can find it. Municipalities and the businesses that serve them may not be the ones in the news, but they’re being targeted more often than you might think.
According to a Forbes report, 43 percent of all data breaches involve small and medium-sized businesses, and 42 percent of small businesses were affected by cyberattacks in the last year. There are a few reasons for these grim statistics: These organizations often have fewer resources to hire top cybersecurity experts. Resource constraints can also make it difficult to keep up with security updates.
When it comes to hauling operations, which are part of critical infrastructure, there’s pressure to settle ransomware attacks with immediate payouts. It can’t be understated how critical it is to deploy secure back-office systems, especially when it comes to customer billing.
Look for a vendor where security is the priority
Security needs to be a top consideration when choosing a billing system for waste management and hauling services. There are a number of criteria to look for, and you can begin by asking these questions:
Is the proposed system purpose-built for the waste management industry?
A system that’s built for a specific industry will include only the features you need to make it work for your organization. That also means less time-consuming customization that has the potential for introducing vulnerabilities.
What kind of support does the vendor provide before, during, and after conversion?
System implementation can be hampered when a vendor doesn’t have the right people to support your conversion. This impacts the overall project, and it can be a security issue if onboarding doesn’t assure that your internal team is fully knowledgeable of the system.
How is data security and integrity maintained over the long term?
Securing your data isn’t a point-in-time activity. As data flows in and out of your billing system, it needs to be protected. As valuable as your data is to your business, keep in mind that it’s also extremely attractive to nefarious actors who will always be looking for vulnerabilities.
What kind of reports are available to monitor the system?
Look for a system that provides comprehensive reporting and data analysis so you can track operational efficiency and key performance metrics (KPIs). Clear system reporting will give you information to track the system’s health and keep an eye out for unusual activity.
Does your vendor provide layers of security, and support for best practices?
Key security elements you should look for in your billing system include a strong password policy, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and secure sockets layer (SSL) communications. Your vendor should support best practices like no login sharing and the ability to perform audits.
Hacks, breaches, ransomware, and other nefarious activity can happen to any organization, regardless of size. Customers depend on you to protect their personal information and maintain consistent levels of service. It’s not just an embarrassment to find that your systems are vulnerable. It can mean lasting reputational damage. And the aftermath can be a serious mess to clean up.
Choose a billing system that’s purpose-built for the waste management industry, and you’ll be working with people who understand your business and your security needs.
Learn more. It’s time to get serious about the security of your billing system. We can help! Let’s talk.