Keep Your Confidential Information Secure in 2022
UPDATED FOR 2022!
2021 was a notable year for data breaches and while we’re only a few weeks into January, 2022 isn’t shaping up to be much better. If your New Year’s resolution wasn’t to assess your business’s security, then now’s the time to reconsider! Learn why and how data breaches can impact you and, more importantly, what to do to protect yourself.
- A study by Identity Theft Resource Center found over 1,800 reported data breaches in the U.S. in 2021, a 68% increase and the highest total ever.
- So far in 2022, major breaches and vulnerabilities have been confirmed by Microsoft, Apple, and other companies.
- Experts are worried about the growth of security attacks.
The threat of data breaches
All small businesses should attempt to incorporate improved information security into their goals. Information theft and fraud are increasing every year and without adequate protection in place, it’s easy to fall victim to such a crime. No matter what your industry and what type of customers or clients you serve, data breaches and identity theft can affect you.
Thieves can obtain your identity in many ways. They can steal highly confidential information through computer security hacks or by simply digging through old garbage! Not securely disposing of sensitive paperwork, such as banking or credit card details, is one source of potential data breaches.
We often think of identity theft when it comes to individuals but thieves can seize an organization’s identity, too. Not only could they apply for credit in a company’s name, but they could wreak havoc on your customers’ and employees’ data.
How can your business deter information theft?
Have a protection plan in place: Develop a comprehensive plan for data and identity protection. Design a detailed, step-by-step process to secure the identity of your company, including an effective action plan should you fall victim to information theft. This is often a significant task but once it’s in place, you can amend it each year as you learn more and acquire new information. Consider the following:
- What type of sensitive data do you have access to?
- In what format is this sensitive data?
- Who has access to the data?
- What’s the life cycle of the data? (For example, when does your company first acquire it, how is it added to, how is it stored, what happens when you no longer need the data.)
Maintain security over company records: Ensure your company and customer records are constantly secure and locked away in a safe location. Any records that are no longer needed should be professionally destroyed through secure shredding. Refrain from providing your company’s federal tax identification number, financials, or bank statements to anyone you are unfamiliar with. Finally, you may wish to consider using prepaid business credit cards for your staff, rather than traditional credit cards. These cards allow you to set specific limits and they can be deactivated in real-time. If a prepaid credit card is stolen, you can take quick action and resolve the issue with more ease.
Protect all online business information: One of the surefire ways to leave your business in a vulnerable situation is by exposing sensitive information like an employer identification number (EIN), account numbers, and financial information through an email account or on the web. If this information is needed for a specific reason such as for obtaining credit, be sure to confirm that the website is 100% secure and that the security certificate displayed is current. Never send important information via email. Use a secure transfer service instead of an email.
Look over all credit reports carefully: One of the easiest and fastest ways of detecting a potential threat to your business is through ongoing monitoring. Always watch over your company’s profiles carefully with all major business credit bureaus. You may do this quickly by subscribing to their monitoring services, which allow you to have ongoing access to records whenever and wherever you’d like. For additional security, you can arrange alert notifications so that you’ll be informed via email of any new or recent activity under your company’s credit.
DataSafe has been a part of the local Portland business community since 1985. Our professional and reliable staff take the security of your business seriously. We’re committed to exceptional customer service at every interaction. As part of this, we’re pleased to offer a variety of ways to securely destroy your sensitive data. We offer our shredding services on a weekly, monthly, or customized schedule. We can pick up your materials and shred them on-site or take them back to our secure facility for destruction. You can also drop your materials off if you prefer. We even offer one-time purges to take care of any overflowing storage closets. Whatever you need, we can deliver.
Contact us today to set up your shredding service and save your business’ bottom line!