Protect your business from identity theft


Your small business is at risk of substantial loss due to cybercrime.

Social engineering and phishing are two cybercrimes that threaten both your business’ and employees’ personal lives. They are verbal and email forms of physiological manipulation, respectively.

John Sileo is a nationally recognized specialist on identity theft who has been on 60 Minutes.

Here are a few of the risks or issues Sileo mentions for small businesses:

FDIC $250K insurance does not cover your business. Your personal bank account is protected by the FDIC while your business account is not. Sileo knows. He lost $283,000 and his business to cybercrime.

It’s going to take a year or more to discover you’ve been hacked. You should not wait patiently and hope. It’s a stealth operation, so you’ll need a professional, and the odds are that you’ll never see it coming.

Public WiFi and unattended devices are a menace to your company. Social engineering, sniffing, and snooping can compromise your company’s online information. The risk is substantial.

60 percent of identity theft happens at the small business level. Much like recovering from a technology disaster (fire, crash, or natural disaster), 50 percent of breached businesses won’t survive once the breach is disclosed.

Amit Yoran, president of EMC Corp’s RSA unit, recently said, “The industry has failed,” in reference to the computer security industry. What can you do to protect your small business? Here are a few suggestions:

Educate. Do your business and employees a service — inform them of social engineering tactics. Perform a Google search for “John Sileo 60 Minutes” as a starting point.

Embrace technology that marches on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the relentless march of technological innovation presents both opportunities and threats. Avail yourself of reasonably priced services and technologies that are showing up monthly. One example is OpenDNS network perimeter protection. This fairly recent technology is an inexpensive and non-invasive way to protect against the Crypto-Locker and Crypto-Wall viruses.

Review your technology policy and standards. Do you have a thorough technology policy in your company handbook? Have you reviewed it in the last five years? Do you have published technology standards that are backed by automated technology checklists? Make sure you do all of these things.

Certainly there’s more you can do — there’s always more in technology security. We choose our own business risk insurance as small business owners. This should apply to your company’s layers of technology security, too.

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