Identity Theft: Will You Be Next?

ThinkstockPhotos-498721570-300x300Identity Theft is among one of the more dangerous threats to your company. These cybercriminals have no shame, draining your accounts behind your back. Your business needs to evolve and always be on high alert for the next big threat.

Cybercriminals are finding identity theft to be one of the most low risk offenses. They are known to hack into your personal information and open up lines of credit, racking up your bills.

In order to prevent impersonation, manipulation, and falsification of your business finances, follow these crucial steps:

Password Protection Policies

Passwords can be your first line of defense against infiltration. This is why it is so important to set up stern password protection policies for yourself and your employees. Set up a policy such as:

  • Change passwords every 60 to 90 days,
  • Always use different passwords for online accounts,
  • Use highly complex passwords with at least 8 characters, symbols, upper and lower case letters.

You’ll also want to enable two-factor authentication for as many sites and programs as you can to strengthen the defense mechanisms.

Records and Documents

It is important to maintain all records and documents in a safe and secure location. Many criminals will sort through garbage (dumpster-diving) and unsecured documents to obtain your personal and financial information.

All paperwork with financial and personal information that is not needed should be destroyed immediately with a paper shredder. Take stock of all documents needed and not needed to separate, dispose, and secure documents where seen fit.

You should always receive electronic statements for financial and personal information to prevent criminals from having access to your paper statements.

EIN and SSN

Your EIN (Employer Identification Number) should be safeguarded to the same extent as your SSN (Social Security Number). Never provide anyone with your EIN or SSN unless you have fully identified said person or business asking for it.

Educate Your Staff

It is crucial to properly educate and inform your employees about the security policies within your business. They can be your biggest vulnerability or they can be your most secured line of defense.

Regular information security awareness training programs are crucial. Your employees need to be constantly up-to-date on the newest threats and educated on how to prevent and protect against these attacks.

Your training sessions should include proper use and handling of:

  • Company confidential information,
  • Financial data,
  • Personal information, and
  • Customer information.

They should also be aware of your company policies and procedures including:

  • Password policies,
  • System access policies,
  • BYOD policies, and
  • Cyber incident response plans.

It is also crucial to protect your business from internal threats. This can start by conducting proper background checks before hiring employees. You should perform thorough pre-employment background checks on each individual, reducing internal risks, such as exposure to financial data, personal and customer information, and theft of merchandise and cash.

Secure Your Infrastructure

Never skip out when it comes to securing your infrastructure. This is the cement that holds your business together and keeps it up and running. Follow these IT best practices:

  • Invest in firewalls, anti-virus, malware and spyware detection software,
  • Always continuously backup your crucial data onsite and offsite every day,
  • Use strong passwords and never use the same one for online accounts,
  • Always update your operating systems, and
  • Use strong encryption programs.

You always need a plan of action when it comes to protecting your business. We help you create a secure IT environment to manage and protect your most valuable assets. You can contact (603) 647-1784 or email us at sales@acapella.com to speak with one of our IT specialists.