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How Your Small Business Can Protect Against Identity Theft PDF Print E-mail
Identity Theft, small business face the risk of

Small businesses face the risk of identity theft because much (if not all) of their critical information is digital. As our use of technology has increased, so have the skills of people who can break into systems to steal company information. With so much attention paid to high-tech methods to enhance security, some small companies can overlook the basic best practices when it comes to securing data. As the responsibility and liability that comes with a major data loss can shut down a small business, it's vital you take steps to protect yourself and your company.

How Bad Is the Risk?

In a 2013 Ponemon Institute Poll, 55 percent of small businesses reported they have experienced digital data theft. Another 53 percent reported having multiple data thefts. The potential for the theft of company information is so great, it warrants time, attention and planning to prevent it from happening. The starting point for any company’s data security is a master protection plan.

There are so many access points for data to be stolen, consult with professionals is advised. Contact LifeLock to learn more about identity theft protection services and help in creating your business' master plan. It will be that one area that was forgotten that becomes the weak link in your company security.

The Risks to Physical Data

Some businesses maintain an open-door policy in their facilities. People can enter and walk around barely noticed by staff. Documents left out on employee desks are easy targets. More troubling are small USB drives that are left on desks to be picked up casually. In fact, any media on which data is stored should be locked up. DVDs and CDs could have information useful to an identity thief.

Documents should be maintained in locked cabinets or desk drawers. Documents to be taken to archive should not be left out until they are picked up. Any room that contains any types of files should be locked. The point is to make it a hassle for someone to break in and steal information.

The Risks to Digital Data

In recent years, two huge organizations—eHarmony and LinkedIn—had thousands of member passwords stolen. To do this, cyberthieves had to break into password-encrypted systems. Digital identity fraud often starts with the theft of thousands of pieces of information, which is what makes it so difficult to track down.

Once into your systems, cyberthieves have access to all types of information. The goal is to prevent that initial access. Create policies that specify changing passwords often on every system that maintains the company data. Generate passwords that have a high degree of security. Although easy to remember, your spouse’s or child’s name is not a secure password.

If your company interfaces with other companies digitally, make sure they have a high level of security in place. People can break into systems through these interfaces as easily as through your own firewall.

Keeping a company’s digital assets secure is a huge task, but a necessary one. Like all risks a small business takes, proper planning and risk management will reduce the chance of fraud and identity theft.

Do you know of a business that has been a victim of identity theft? Share the experience in the comments.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 September 2013 16:59
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