Protecting Your Small Business From Identity Theft

When we think of identity theft and data security, our minds often almost automatically go to the risks involved for both individuals and families. After all, identity theft is a serious concern in this day and age, and having your information out on the loose can cause all sorts of long-lasting financial issues. Many Americans now rate identity theft as one of their top concerns to their long-term well-being.

Although personal identity theft is a grave concern, business identity theft is arguably a greater threat. Many people don’t consider the possibility at all. However, business identity theft can work in a very similar, destructive manner that can completely ruin otherwise successful small businesses.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that business owners can educate themselves and work to protect their companies from business identity theft and data breaches. There are numerous tools and tips out there from a variety of professionals that can be easily incorporated into business practices. Overall, they can make a profound difference.

Data Breach Risks

The risk of data breaches is a serious threat that even some of the largest and most well-protected global companies face. Information gained from illegally accessing a company’s data system is valuable and often includes things like phone numbers, addresses, payment/banking information, and Social Security numbers of both customers and employees. Breaking into a database of a large company can provide years of payoff to an identity thief.

This is part of the reason that we regularly hear about so many large companies such as Yahoo, Equifax, or even Google dealing with security threats. In these instances, hackers were able to break past the security system and steal thousands of people’s information. In all of these examples, they were also able to do significant financial harm to the companies as well.

Regardless of your company’s size, data is at risk. We hear about many of the large scale attacks, but far more hacks on medium and small businesses go unreported by major news outlets even though they have an equally significant impact. Investing in higher level security software is a powerful means of combating breach risk, and can ultimately pay itself off in dividends.

Business Identity Theft

Another means by which business information can be used through identity theft. Similar to individuals, each business has its own credit report, credit score, and ability to successfully apply for loans and company credit cards. Obtaining this data is a huge motivation for hackers and makes for another powerful reason to breach a security system, and it’s important for a small business to protect this information.

Small businesses are particularly at risk of fraud and are hot targets because they are usually not monitored quite as closely as individuals. This is partially true because businesses usually have generous credit limits and are expected to make regular large-ticket purchases. Because so many companies have multiple business credit cards, many fail to look closely at itemized purchases, which can make it easy for a thief to fly under the radar.

Business identity theft can be particularly damaging. If it isn’t caught quickly, the financial credit of your business can be ruined beyond repair. Unfortunately, it is difficult to track and catch; even many experts find it a serious challenge. Utilizing quality security software and a good IT team is a strong start to ensuring your company is protected.

Insurance and Preparedness

When it comes to protecting your company from these types of threats, there is nothing quite as valuable as a knowledgeable IT team and a strong security system. Many experts are currently working on ways to stop would-be thieves and are coming up with great strategies. A good IT staff can help work to incorporate many of these developments into your business’s security strategy.

One powerful tool on the horizon is the use of big data for identity security purposes. By utilizing big data, machine learning processes would help identify patterns in normal day-to-day activity. When patterns became abnormal, IT specialists would be notified to investigate the issue and address potential problems quickly.

Another way to help protect your business in the event of a significant security breach is online business insurance. This type of insurance can help to protect any type of company activity that takes place online from selling products, ensuring delivery, and processing company and customer payment information. It can be a critical benefit if security issues take place.

Protecting company information is an essential part of owning a business, especially in the age of online data breaches and security threats. Security threats are most effectively addressed with strong software and a good IT team. Investing in these and a quality online insurance policy can be the best ways to make sure your company is adequately protected.


Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest who enjoys covering topics related to social justice, the changing workplace, and technology.

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