Prevent Identity Theft from Happening to Your Small Business
Identity theft isn’t just limited to individuals. Businesses are also targets. Identity thieves steal personal information and use it to open accounts and make purchases. Luckily, there are certain things you can do to keep your small business safe.
Regularly Review Your Business Banking Agreements
Business bank accounts fall under the UCC, which states that businesses have less time to report fraud and identity theft than consumers do. Businesses also have more liability when it comes to fraud. Because of this, it’s important that you review your banking agreements. The organization Business ID Theft says you should be aware of your bank’s policies, especially those regarding your business’s liability for fraud.
Develop a Defense Plan
The U.S. Small Business Administration advises small businesses to develop a defense plan to ensure your company’s identity is protected. By designing a detailed plan you can protect your business’s identity as well as put an action plan in place in case your business falls prey to identity theft.
By encrypting your data you will minimize your chances of having your identity stolen. Employees or outsiders can steal this data. However, according to Lawrence R. Rogers, one of the senior members of the technical team of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, encrypted data is similar to shredded paper. The thief may be able to tape all of the little pieces of paper together, but it takes so much time and so many resources the data itself will be useless by the time he is done.
Check Your Vendors’ Security Practices
When businesses use outside vendors their security becomes limited. This is because once you provide your information to those vendors you cannot really control what they do. Always ask your vendors about their information security practices. This is especially important when you fill out forms or provide credit card information because any lax security will make it easy to steal your identity.
Don’t Forget About Your Customers
While getting your business’s identity stolen is not fun, neither is having your company’s name plastered all over the news because your customer data was stolen. In a report by The Heritage Foundation, author Riley Walters named some of the biggest cyber attacks of U.S. Companies in 2014, including big names such as Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, PF Changs, Home Depot, Dairy Queen and even Goodwill. Many of these big companies overlooked their security and were vulnerable to cyber attacks. In these attacks the information and credit cards of their customers were stolen and in turn, the companies had to pay big bucks. After the cyber attacks many of the companies were left scrambling to quickly secure their companies once again.
Instead of waiting until a breach happens to you, begin taking measures to secure your company and your customers now. Protect your company documents and your employee PII (personal identifiable information). Secure your servers, website, and on-line forms and encrypt your data. Businesses that take security seriously and are proactive to prevent identity theft will have better success avoiding fraud and breaches. Everything done to secure your company should be considered a long-term investment.