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Help Stop Identity Theft at Work

Everyone worries about identity theft, but we generally tend to worry about how to protect our own data -- even if we're in a position to influence the way customer data is managed at work. But it's important to consider customer data, no matter how large or small your business might be. Do you maintain customer data? On a laptop? A network share? On a USB memory key? That data is vulnerable. Here are some ways to keep it safe.

Fredric Paul, at the SmallBizResource Blog, recently listed five ways you can help stop identity theft. Here's what Fredrick recommended:

  • Collect only essential information. The more data you collect, the greater your potential liability. Don't collect information "just in case."
  • Create and follow a privacy policy. It should detail how your business collects, manages, and secures any data it collects, and you should be sure that customers have easy access to this policy.
  • Limit access. Not just anyone at the company can access this customer data anytime they want, right?
  • Secure your workplace. Not all security breeches are high-tech intrusions like a scene from the movie Sneakers. Sometimes the thief walks right in and takes it, like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. (Actually, they walked in and took it in Sneakers, too, come to think of it.)
  • Dispose of it. When you no longer need your confidential data, dispose of it properly -- use a cross-cut shredder on paper and software that thoroughly destroys the bits on electronic information. Don't just delete files. They're not really deleted.
Photo by B Rosen