The Bureau of Justice estimated that five percent of the entire U.S. population were victimized by identity thieves, a total of 11.7 million people. While the methods of collecting the data that identity thieves need to commit their crime vary from dumpster diving for carelessly discarded documents, to email phishing scams, there is a particular target that can easily supply them with the data they will need: the workplace.
While many businesses must collect a lot of personal data from their clients for billing purposes, their employees are also made vulnerable if some of that data was to be absconded with. After all, in order to properly pay an employee for their work, an employer will need a lot of their personally identifiable information on record. As a result, a workplace becomes a high-value target for someone seeking the data necessary to complete fraudulent actions in someone else’s name and becomes the responsibility of the entire business to safeguard that data, for the sake of their employees and their clients.
To that end, every employee should be educated in the best practices for protecting a company’s trove of sensitive information, and policies need to be implemented and enforced to ensure that these best practices are followed. To get you started with securing your office, make sure these four best practices are followed by everyone associated with your company.
Don’t Leave Workstations Unattended
Computers need to be locked and only accessible by its user’s password. Otherwise, anyone (be it a less-than-trustworthy employee or someone off the street stumbling across an opportunity) could access that workstation and any company documents available to that employee.
Identity thieves love paper trails. Whether it be copies of sensitive files that make their way to the trash, or even documents that get left lying around the office, the fact of the matter is that having paper copies of sensitive information only increases the risk that this information will get stolen. Going paperless is a way to minimize this risk entirely.
Train Employees to Know What Email Scams Looks Like
Scams targeting email inboxes are some of the top ways that identities are compromised. Therefore, in addition to having a good spam blocking solution in place, you’re going to want to make sure that every worker knows what an email scam looks like so they won’t fall for one. You may know how to spot an obvious email scam, like an unsolicited email requesting sensitive information, but how sure are you that your staff knows what a scam looks like as well?
Implement Enterprise-Level Security Solutions
Without proactive solutions in place to protect your company's sensitive data, it could easily fall into the wrong hands if a hacker breached your network. Every business needs to have security tools in place like antivirus, firewalls, spam-blocking, and content filtering. Thankfully, a solution like a Unified Threat Management tool offers businesses an easy way to get this kind of comprehensive protection in one easy-to-implement package!
Of course, there are many other steps to take to prevent your workplace from becoming an identity thief’s jackpot. PCS can help advise you on the other steps your business needs to take in order to keep the identities it deals with properly protected. Call us today at (865) 273-1960 for more information on the steps you need to take to prevent identity theft.