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Criminals Want Your Data, and If You’re Not Careful, They May Succeed
Whether in digital or hardcopy format, your business information is under constant risk of being stolen and misused. In a recent survey of small to medium sized businesses (SMBs), CSID found that 31% of small businesses are not taking any active security measures to protect against security theft. It’s no wonder that criminals are easily getting their hands on:
- personal information belonging to clients
- financial data
- employee records
We’ve outlined the most popular methods criminals use to gain access to confidential business information.
Don’t assume that just because you don’t have a publicly traded company with global brand recognition that criminals don’t want to steal your business data. According to Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 31% of breaches happened in businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Neither do you have to invest in an expensive network security solution. Practical prevention begins with employee training on strong cybersecurity practices, such as using strong passwords or two-factor authentication, and continues with:
- updating security software
- enabling firewalls
- regular data backup
Consider drafting a written policy that addresses each component to further protect customer information and vital company data.
Acquiring “Old” Documents
No-longer-needed receipts, financial documents, and contracts are also targets for theft. Holding on to them longer than you’re legally required to increases the likelihood that they’ll be stolen. But you also have to dispose of them in the proper manner. Anyone can go through your trash, and any paperwork that lands in it is a “freebie” to a criminal. One-time purge and scheduled paper shredding services ensure that sensitive documents are destroyed securely and on time.
Stealing Electronic Devices
Your business data isn’t just tucked away in file cabinets-it’s on laptops, backup tapes, and smartphones. The value of the information stored on your devices is often more valuable than the devices themselves. And the ability to work on the go not only increases theft risk, but also increases the threat of confidential data being exposed over public Wi-Fi networks. Your employees should be aware of strategies for physically protecting mobile devices and be required to use encryption to ensure data is received and transmitted securely. Like no-longer-needed paper records, all mobile devices should be disposed of using a service that guarantees complete data destruction.
Safeguarding your business data doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A combination of common sense, ongoing vigilance, and the right resources can help you ensure that criminals don’t gain the upper hand.
Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with records and information management solutions. For more solutions that will strengthen data security for your organization, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.