According to Inc. magazine, technological advancements mean that more and more businesses are stockpiling customer data that is full of personally identifiable information (PII). While this data is very valuable for sales and marketing research, it also opens the door for identify theft. Keep reading to learn how to protect your customers from identity theft.
Understand the Risks
Criminals prefer to target businesses because if successful, they can access massive databases that contain private information, such as credit card or social security numbers. Fraudulent criminals now use cutting-edge technology to steal personal information so that they can quickly sell it on the black market. However, the financial consequences of customer information data breaches range from one to three hundred dollars per customer. Therefore, companies should have strict Internet and technology usage policies that are continually updated with current risks. Keep in mind that online criminal behaviors respond to and develop according to security vulnerabilities and the ignorance of the users.
Increase Network Security
For starters, every company should have the top of the line anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Both are actually needed because each program will have unique strengths and weaknesses. Next, the company should have an excellent firewall and content monitoring program. This will prevent employees from accessing insecure or inappropriate websites. However, sometimes employees make inadvertent mistakes, such as losing documentation or even flash drives with sensitive information. There should be communication protocols that instruct employees who they should report to when a data breach occurs.
Increase Internal Security
A small amount of employees commit data breaches in order to make money or get revenge after being fired. Sometimes these individuals spy for other companies or they keep employee files or information at their home. This type of white-collar crime can best be controlled through comprehensive screening during the interview process. It can also be controlled through proper document control and destruction protocols performed by Vital Records Control and similar companies. Employees who commit gross violations of company security policies should be terminated.
Perform Security Audits
Companies that allow members of the public into their office must have the highest security standards. This is still relevant for offices with secure doors that bring clients inside for face-to-face meetings. This is because these clients may overhear confidential information or see sensitive documentation that is lying on a desk. Consequently, companies should regularly perform audits to see what kind of sensitive information is vulnerable and accessible by the public.
In the end, preventing identify theft can be accomplished through better network and internal security. Understanding the risks and performing security audits will ensure continuous improvement and compliance with company policies.