You are probably well aware of the threat of identity theft. So much so that you automatically take many of the steps to protect yourself against it without really realising it. But did you know that businesses can be just as vulnerable, if not more so, to identity theft than the individuals within them? Or that there are things a business can do to protect themselves from identity thieves, and stop them from ending up as another victim? Today’s blog is all about business identity theft, and what you can do to prevent it.
Design Systems For Security
When you’re creating a new system or workflow, try to consider security at the design phase, rather than right at the end. Whether you’re making something digital or physical, it’s important to understand the security requirements for it, and how it will interact with other parts of your business. Nowadays security if more of a priority than organisational efficiency, especially when it comes to things like filing. If you need to keep physical copies, especially of documents that contain sensitive data, it’s essential to provide robust physical security and to design your filing system so that it’s difficult for anyone without the right permissions to get into.
One thing many business owners forget is that you don’t have to give everyone in the business access to every piece of data and every document. In fact, we advise against it. Instead, assess what each person needs to have access to in order to do their job, and limit their access to that information. This means that you’re reducing the risk of malicious identity theft, or any disgruntled employees trying to steal information as they walk out of the door. Whether that data is physical or digital, make sure you are restricting access to sensitive information. For digital files, you can ensure usernames and passwords are given unique access permissions, and each account has a digital audit log, so you have full traceable accountability.
Monitor The Money
If you’re worried about business identity theft, the place to start is the money. After all, it’s what most hackers and scammers are after! So, keep a sharp eye on your finances as often as possible. In particular, make sure you know what’s going on in your business bank accounts, as this is often where you will find the first sign of an issue. Know what every in and outgoing transaction is, and act right away if you spot something out of the ordinary.
Implement Secure Passwords
Training your employees in good digital security is a must in today’s world, but one area a lot of people still struggle with is passwords. Passwords are still the biggest target for hackers, especially for those targeting small business. And when ‘password’ still features in the top 10 list of most common passwords, you know something is wrong! Long, strong passwords are key to protect your business. Even your social media passwords can be a goldmine to anyone trying to steal your business identity, so strong passwords are a must. After all, a business social media platform could be used to reach out to all sorts of clients, as well as post defamatory or unpleasant content to damage your reputation. Make sure every business account has a secure password, that only a few people have access to them, and change them regularly to comply with best practice.
Check Each And Every Invoice
Unfortunately, invoice fraud is one of the most prevalent crimes for businesses, and it’s all too easy to fall for. False invoices are a common trick scammers use to get access to your billing information, which they can then use to fool you into willingly making payments directly to them – when you think you’re paying someone else. To avoid this, you need to make sure you have a system in place to check the details of each and every invoice, and make sure it is genuine before payments are made. If in doubt, reach out directly to the company who issued it, preferably to someone you know and trust, to confirm the invoice is genuine before paying.
Shred, Shred, Shred
For physical documents, you need to make sure disposal is just as secure as use and storage. That means shredding. More specifically, making sure you have a regular schedule of shredding for your business to ensure nothing is missed. Shredding completely destroys the documents so that none of the data within them can be accessed. If you can’t manage regular shredding yourself, then consider working with a shredding partner who can manage it for you.
Business identity theft is a threat that every organisation needs to take seriously today. These are just a few of the steps that you can take to protect against it. If you would like to find out more, or to discuss your security options, just get in touch with the team today.