Identity theft is largely an epidemic affecting families and individuals. However, it is also a growing concern among small businesses, as it can literally destroy a business. In fact, according to the IRS, business identity theft cases have increased from around 350 in 2015 to approximately 10,000 cases in 2017, potentially costing $137 million total. Fortunately, there are ways for small businesses to combat this crime, including the following three.
No. 1: Protect your data and secure sensitive documents. Even the biggest of businesses are targets of identity theft. Identity thieves prey on a business’ online information, such as phone numbers, addresses, customer lists, tax returns, payment or banking information, and Social Security numbers. Hackers are sophisticated and have even breached giants including Google and Yahoo. So, for businesses large or small, it is imperative to implement high-level security software. Ensure your business’ computer systems have firewall, antivirus and antimalware technology. Furthermore, you need to also protect your paper documents. Keep sensitive documents in a safe or other secure location or shred those you no longer need.
No. 2: Educate your employees. Ensuring the security of a small business’ data is not only up to its owner, but its staff as well. Employees need to be educated about cyber threats and how to protect the company’s data. This is especially imperative in regards to using social network sites, and employees should be taught how to post online without revealing any sensitive company information. They should also be required to use very strong, case-sensitive passwords, and change them frequently. It is also crucial that you employ a talented IT person or persons.
No. 3: Get cyber liability insurance. This specialized form of insurance protects your business’ online activity, such as selling your products and/or services, ensuring delivery, and processing your business and client payment information. It also helps pay the costs that come with data and identity theft.