Identity theft is a problem that we face at every turn, and that includes in business. That’s why it is so important to have measures in place to combat this act, as it can cost businesses (and individuals) many thousands of dollars, and possibly even their reputation. It will certainly affect their ability to obtain credit, and some businesses may even have to close because of it. It is a serious issue and having processes in place to prevent it as far as possible is something that every sensible business owner should do.
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The more data that your business stores, the more chance there is that some or all of it will be targeted by identity thieves. Therefore, it’s best to get into the habit of only storing data that is absolutely necessary on-site – everything else should be stored off-site, perhaps in the cloud for better security.
Check Your Computers
If you are worried about data security, you can check your computers for malware, viruses, and even anti-forensic tools that identity thieves plant in order to make it difficult to trace them. Digital forensics experts will be able to discover whether or not your hardware is infected, or has been breached, and then it can be cleansed. They will also be able to give you plenty of information about what to do next and how to prevent the problem from occurring again.
When you no longer need a file or piece of information, you should dispose of it safely. Creating a data destruction policy for your entire company is a good way to ensure that this potentially sensitive information is disposed of in the right way. For example, paper that contains information such as names, addresses, bank account numbers, and other personal information should always be shredded, and if you delete a file ensure that it is properly deleted rather than just moved from a folder on your computer. If you buy a new computer and dispose of or sell the old one, the hard drive must be entirely wiped so that no trace of business information is left behind.
No matter what kind of software you are using and on what kind of hardware it is being used, having everything password protected is a great way to prevent identity theft. That way, even if a mobile device is lost or stolen, for example, it will be extremely hard for thieves to access the information. The device itself will be password protected, and so will all the files and programs on it, offering multiple opportunities to protect the data. The passwords should all be different where possible, and they should be changed every six months for added security.
If you are implementing all of the above measures, then it is highly unlikely that any data can be stolen, but to add another level of security (and more levels can only be a good thing), you should also encrypt your data so that if it is discovered, it is useless to the thief.