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Ensure Protection From Identity Theft in Your Small Business
From exposed credit card information at a restaurant to easily accessible patient records at a physician’s office, small businesses need to keep sensitive data under lock and key to provide protection from identity theft.
By: The Identity Advocate
Are you one of those small businesses ignoring identity theft threats? If so, you are putting your business at serious risk. In addition to the countless revenue you will lose when customers flee to your competitors, you may also face costly lawsuits that can literally put you out of business.
Many small business owners like you are so busy serving your customers’ needs that you forget to protect the data that makes you vulnerable to hackers, data breaches, and even employee identity theft. To avoid small business identity theft, you must take every possible precaution to ensure that you, the company, the employees, and your customers have protection from identity theft.
There are many proven strategies to prevent small business identity theft, and there are a couple of basic rules: 1) identify and implement security strategies to physically protect business information and customers’ private data, and 2) ensure that computer networks are virtually protected against data breaches that can result in identity theft.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the questions you should be asking yourself if you want to ensure your business’ protection from identity theft:
• How safe are your business records? Start by thinking about the simple things like access to filing cabinets, and then look at the much larger issue of virtual filing cabinets—which includes all of the private information you’ve collected on your customers and employees. How easy is it for anyone to login and walk away with information that could put your business at risk?
• Do you have alarms and locks on your physical premises? It may sound obvious, but many small businesses have not invested in basic systems to provide protection from identity theft. The first step is hiring a security company to install and begin monitoring all possible entryways of your business.
• Are you shredding everything? Emphasize the importance of shredding all documents that contain customers’ personal data. Employees need to understand that any piece of stolen personal information can be used against the business in the event of a lawsuit due to negligence. Consider placing only one regular trash bin near the workstations and put shredders next to every station to promote the destruction of customer information.
• Are you helping a hacker? One of the many small business identity theft threats is hacking because, in many cases, it’s the easiest way to steal information. Unless your company has protection from identity theft by using a secure firewall, you are inviting an intruder to slyly slip into your network, take everything, and then sell it on the black market.
• Who has access to your computers? Your computer network is the lifeblood of your business, so you need to make sure it is password protected and that the most private, identifiable information is safeguarded. Think about who really requires access to the network. A receptionist needs far less access than a manager.
Learn more about preventing identity theft in your small business by visiting www.TheIdentityAdvocate.com or calling 310.831.4400. You can ensure protection from identity theft today by signing-up with Entrust America—the only identity theft prevention company created by law enforcement.
About The Identity Advocate:
Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., is an identity theft, medical identity theft, and healthcare fraud prevention expert specializing in medical consulting and investigations. She is the president of The Identity Advocate, which teaches corporations, professional practices, and consumers how to stop identity theft, medical identity theft, and healthcare fraud. Visit www.TheIdentityAdvocate.com or call 310.831.4400.