Identity theft costs businesses around the world approximately $221 billion every year, based on the US Small Business Administration. Once a criminal gets access to sensitive information, they will often rack up huge charges within a short period of time. This can put customers’ financial records in jeopardy, damage a business owner’s credit history, a cause other tons of problems.

Check out these five ways you can protect your business and keep confidential information from being nabbed by cybercriminals.

Minimize Stored Information

The more data your business stored, the easier it will be for thieves to engage in identity theft. Because of this, it is advisable for you, as a business owner, to only store information that’s absolutely necessary to conduct business. While information like names and addresses might be necessary, other info such as dates and places of birth probably aren’t. If you can maintain operations without storing certain types of information, it may be a practical and safe move. This way, even if those other data landed into the hands of the criminal, it will be considerably more difficult to use if the other information are not existing.

Have a Data Destruction Policy

A relatively simple way to increase protection is to eliminate information that’s no longer usable or you don’t plan on using any further. This can include deleting data from file once it hasn’t been used for a certain period of time. After replacing computer equipment like hard drives or anything that stores data, it’s necessary to destroy the equipment so the data on it will no longer be recoverable. This can be done via shredding or crushing equipment. In case you choose to send an old equipment for resale or reuse, it is necessary to implement data sanitation to wipe the equipment clean.

Protect Paper Documents

It is crucial to keep any time-sensitive printed information under lock and key to avoid any unauthorized access. This means access to these types of document should only be granted to the most trusted employees, and have them stored in a very secure location such as a safe. Once documents are no longer relevant, the next important step you should do is to destroy them with a paper shredder, and then have them discarded. You should also implement a policy to never leave any important document out in the open.

Set a Password Protection for Everything

Whenever a software platform or website is utilized to store sensitive information, it should require a password to log in. And since short, simplistic passwords can be easily deciphered, it’s wise to mandate that they are at least eight characters long, combined with special characters, numbers, and symbols. Ideally, a platform will automatically log an employee out after a certain period of time has passed with inactivity. This is useful especially if someone forgets to log out on their own.

Implement Company-wide Data Encryption

Although technology is often the catalyst for identity theft, it can also help prevent it. By implementing a data encryption system, you can keep sensitive information secure any time it leaves your company. This practice utilizes an algorithm that converts normal text into indecipherable ciphertext so that it will not be easily decoded or understood by unwanted parties.If you sent an email containing sensitive information to another business, data encryption would prevent would-be hackers from reading it.

One of the most significant indication that a business is solid is by how it keeps its data secure. By following these guidelines, you can protect your business and effectively reduce the odds of information being intercepted. This should ensure smooth operations and keep both your business’ and customers’ information intact.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 6:30:24 AM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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