Best Ways to Avoid Digital Identity Theft in the Office

Best ways to avoid digital identity theft in the office

Best ways to avoid digital identity theft in the office

In 2011, Computerworld reported a hacking study of almost 600 companies. Within those companies, over 90% had fallen victim to at least one type of security breach within their system. This proves just how important constant cyber security is, especially for business owners in charge of sensitive information. If you are unsure about the types of activities and procedures being used on your company computers, it’s time for a security overhaul.

Every Office Needs Antivirus Software

Make sure that your software was purchased and/or downloaded from a reputable seller. Any ol’ application or service just will not do. Many services claiming to be “antivirus” software are actually just viruses themselves and will completely defeat the purpose of getting antivirus software in the first place. If you’re not sure which company or program would be best for your needs, do some extended research on the subject. Read reviews of services online and check around to different experts and shops that may offer some valuable insight.

Instate Priority Access to Proprietary Information

Especially when personal information or finances are involved, there must be some kind of system in place for those who can access such information. For example, banking accounts, and (the ever growing in popularity) digital currency accounts, must only be accessed by those with absolute necessity to do so.

It’s also pertinent to be aware of where your information is being stored. For example, employees who use multiple computers, tablets, or mobile devices could be unknowingly storing files on their devices every time they access the information. Sensitive information should only be accessed from completely secure devices and only when totally necessary.

Limit Paper Trails Where You Can

Of course, eco-consciousness is always a great idea for any business, but more than just going green, companies should be aware about what kinds of sensitive items are going in the trash. If you must have your employees sign certain documents, such as insurance and benefit forms, it’s always a better idea to complete these online when applicable. If you must print physical copies, either make sure that the items are stored by very few individuals or shred the copies when they are no longer needed.

Stay Up to Date on Cyber Fraud

All managerial staff should stay educated regarding current hacking trends. In a perfect world, all staff would also be aware of the newest cyber crimes making their way around the net. If time allows, try setting up quarterly security meetings with those who are most at risk for breaches.

Another great idea is to set up a security “team”. If you have your own in-house IT team (if you have a website for your business and/or your employees work off of a computer that accesses the internet – you 100% need an IT specialist) or are able to form a contract with outside IT specialists, make those individuals your “go-to” experts when employees have concerns about cyber security- as long as it does not interfere with their daily duties. Putting the most technically savvy folks in charge of keeping the entire company up-to-date on scams and fraudulent behavior will ensure that nothing slips in between the cracks.

Require Regular Password Changes

While this tip might seem like a no-brainer, you’d be amazed at how many people keep the same password for years. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this issue, though. Studies have been conducted about the actual security behind frequent password changes. The results say that when employees are forced to change their password too often, they usually come up with simple words that meet the required guidelines, they don’t necessarily think about which password will be the most secure for their computer. Often times, people will simply change one letter or one symbol in order to meet these requirements, which makes for a password that is easy to discover, especially when the same password is used for multiple systems and accounts. So, before asking your employees to change their password every month, maybe reconsider every 60 to 90 days or even longer when possible.

Even after practicing workplace cyber safety, breaches can happen. The best thing to do in this case is to make sure you have a plan of action. If a breach occurs management should do their best to isolate the device in which the breach was identified. If by chance the issue is too large to identify and, worst case scenario, the entire network was compromised, the management team should have a plan of action for this as well. A task force should be assigned to assess the issue and ultimately diffuse the situation.

Although not always the most exciting of topics, cyber security is essential to a company’s sustainability. Remaining proactive about both your company and employee’s safety ensures there will be no time wasted on avoidable, and possibly costly, security breaches.

Trisha Miller

Trisha is a writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated professional who has been working in customer service related industries for over 10 years.

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