1. Prepare for extended remote working
Most businesses must maintain critical operations despite the challenges of office closures, social distancing and travel restrictions. The answer for many has been to transition very quickly to a remote workforce, using scalable remote access technology. You need to provide your workforce with secure access to critical assets and applications to do their job effectively, while being alert to the additional threats of remote access. Integrate a strong security and privacy foundation so you can focus on maintaining critical business operations without exposing yourself to fraud or compliance issues.
2. Educate your workforce on threats
Your employees are your first line of defense. Times of stress call for reinforcing your code of ethics and rules — and reassuring workers of their value as anti-fraud partners. Double down on educating them about social engineering and email attack techniques. And if they are working remotely, make sure your people know what behavior is expected of them, and what resources are available to support them.
3. Communicate across your entire stakeholder group
Don’t stop with your employees. From your board, shareholders, business partners and regulators to the general public, it is critical to confirm all your relevant stakeholders are kept aware of perceived risks, prevention strategies and contingency plans — as soon and as specifically as possible. When asked in a recent PwC survey to name their area of greatest vulnerability in a serious crisis, nearly one in four US executives (23%) pointed to their communications with external stakeholders, with another one in six (17%) citing communications with internal stakeholders.
4. Keep an eye on your extended business partner network
Vendors, third parties and other business partners can be a stress point for fraud. Can you identify and account for all your key third parties? How well-positioned are they to continue to support your fraud management efforts in a time of crisis? Are they financially strong enough to weather this storm? Can they provide ongoing maintenance and emergency response? And, if they can’t, do you have an alternative provider who can step in?
5. Sharpen your fraud detection
Frauds of a transactional nature — like customer fraud, cyber attacks and misappropriation — can be detected using fraud detection technologies that leverage advanced analytics. Yet, according to our latest fraud survey, only half of US companies are using fraud detection tools. Fewer than four in 10 are using powerful techniques such as AI and machine learning. Those are staggering statistics when you consider the magnitude of fraud threat every organization faces.
These tools have a clear ROI and offer a relatively cost-effective opportunity to upgrade your defenses when it’s most needed. The changes in transactional patterns we are seeing with COVID-19, such as the shift to e-commerce, also mean that existing fraud detection models will require recalibration to realign with the “new normal.” Recalibration can reduce the amount of false positive fraud alerts and increase the effectiveness of your fraud detection program.