Every day, businesses deal with confidential data containing everything from company trade secrets and marketing research, to social security numbers and addresses of employees. Recent news headlines make us all painfully aware of the disastrous consequences of a data breach.
Financial implications are only a portion of the consequences, as organizations can now face fines and lawsuits if they fail to properly store and destroy sensitive information. In some states, lawmakers have started to hold employers responsible for protecting employees’ information as well.
Consider implementing the following practices to help minimize the risk of identity theft at your office:
- Create company-wide guidelines for all employees to outline the proper procedures for protecting sensitive information.
- Shred anything with sensitive information.
- Keep all sensitive data locked away.
- Restrict access to those who need it and closely watch your files.
- Work with the IT department to limit the access employees have to electronic files with sensitive information.
- Confirm all company computers have the most up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software.
- Make sure all wireless networks are protected with the proper security settings.
- Conduct thorough background checks on potential employees. It is not uncommon for confidential information to be stolen from within.
- Use a locked mailbox to send mail that contains personal information and company checks.
- At the end of each workday, all employees should log off their computers and lock their workstations or office doors. All confidential documents should be filed away rather than left at one’s desk.