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How Can a Company Avoid Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a severe issue that businesses shouldn’t take lightly. It is a crime of obtaining financial or personal information of another person to use their identity in making unauthorized purchases or transactions.
It could wreak havoc not only on your business but also on the employees and customers that are relying on it. Therefore, if you want to prevent identity theft from ruining your business, you should follow these steps.
Create Customer Policies
Request Verification Codes
Before accepting payments or requests from a customer, verify their identity first using verification methods like two factor or multi-factor authentication. These methods require your customers to enter a code sent to their mobile phones or email.
By doing this, you can confirm the customer’s identity and prevent sending sensitive information to identity thieves.
Collect Necessary Information Only
Don’t collect information that you don’t really need from your clients. For example, if it is not vital that you have your client’s birthday, do not request it. It minimizes the damage that can be done if the clients’ information you have were leaked or sent to the wrong hands.
Determine Information Lifetime
Set policies for how long you will keep the account numbers and credit cards of your customers. If they haven’t been active or have no orders for more than a year, there is no reason for you to keep records of their credit card numbers.
Protect Sensitive Information
Use encryption to securely store and transmit essential client data like bank accounts, Social Security numbers, and credit cards. It may not stop a thief from gaining access to these vital pieces of information, but it can prevent them from using it.
Perhaps, it’s like using a digital paper shredder. Someone can get their hands on all those paper scraps and spend time trying to put them back together. However, It would take most people way too long for it to be of any use.
Use Quality Cross-Cut Shredder
Speaking of paper shredders, it is crucial to use a quality cross-cut paper shredder when getting rid of old business records to make it unreadable. Believe it or not, bad guys steal paper works from recycling bins, mailboxes, and even dumpsters.
While dumpster digging for company data may sound unproductive to you, data thieves see it as a quick opportunity to make some bucks.
Create a Secure Filing System
Moreover, if you happen to require storing essential company records, store them in securely locked filing cabinets and closets. If these documents require additional security, keep them away in a vault or safe. Perhaps, you can also put them in a secure or locked area requiring a second level of access.
Limit Data Access
You should have multiple system security layers to ensure that only those with a need can access company data. If you’re using computer systems for daily operations, every one of your employees should have their own username and password.
Each account should only have access to its appropriate systems and should never be shared between users. This strategy allows you to quickly shut down accounts when an employee leaves the company and gives more security to keep data away from prying eyes.
Monitor Company Credit Reports
Monitoring your company credit is an essential tool in keeping your company data secure. Therefore, you should always keep up with your business credit besides getting alerts from the government if someone meddles with your records.
Perhaps, this additional strategy can help you spot problems and suspicious activities immediately. In that way, you can stop and fix them before they get out of hand.
Use Strong Passwords
It sounds simple, but it is the primary crucial step in securing information. Therefore, make sure to use alphanumeric secured and unguessable passwords. Moreover, refrain from using personal information in creating passwords because it’s making it too easy to guess.
Moreover, using a long, random, authentic password may seem impossible, but it’s easier to do than most people are aware of. Perhaps, you can use tools in creating unique passwords for every single site like 1Password, Dashlane, and Lastpass. If one gets hacked, it allows you to change only one password, and not all of them.
Follow Digital Security Practices
Aside from securing your paper systems, you should also ensure your digital assets. A wireless internet router does some of the work of keeping your digital data safe, but you need additional steps to establish total security.
Some of the best practices in securing your digital assets include:
Automatic software and Windows Update
Having a strong firewall
Scheduled malware and virus scans
Secured wireless networks
VPN for outside access
Secure offsite data storage
Protecting physical access to company computers
Limiting software installation abilities for employees
Training employees in digital best practices
Be proactive and don’t wait for the problem to happen before securing your data. Make security your top priority from the start so you won’t have to worry about a messy and costly clean up after a hacker gets into your data.
Aside from keeping your data safe, you should also remember to create backups. If a hacker gets into your server or when your computers crash, you’ll definitely don’t want to be left with ruins. In that case, create multiple and redundant backups - not just onsite but also offsite copies.
Furthermore, you should not treat securing your data as something you can put off. Leaving your data vulnerable is like giving away your business for free to data thieves. It would be a shame to see your successful business end just because of one identity theft.
Moreover, these steps may seem overwhelming and draining, but you won’t have to do it all by yourself. You can use custom software development services like what Group BWT offers. Organizations like this will do almost all the work for you in your own wishes and convenience.
Therefore, follow these steps and use custom software development to ensure your company’s safety. If you do, you’ll have less to worry about and get back to what’s important – growing your business.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes