When the word ‘theft’ is mentioned, like most of us, you probably think of burglaries and of losing valuable possessions. However, while protecting physical items is certainly very important, it’s equally essential to protect sensitive data in your business.
This is especially true when it comes to the risk of ID theft. According to the Attorney-General’s Department, identity theft is one of the most common crimes in Australia. If someone manages to steal an identity, they may be able to clean out bank accounts, max out credit cards, and obtain loans or even commit crimes in someone else’s name. Tips for protecting personal and sensitive data and information in your business, and preventing access by unauthorised people, include:
- Shredding old documents rather than discarding them in the bin, and using ‘disk wipe’ software (rather than just the delete button) to properly remove old unwanted data from your computer.
- Locking away sensitive documents in secure filing cabinets or in a safe.
- Regularly reconciling and monitoring bank accounts so unusual or suspect transactions can be identified.
- Installing virus protection software and firewalls on computer systems.
- Ensuring all authorised computer users regularly change their passwords.
- Always using secure sites for online purchases (those with https:// rather than just http://).
You should also make sure to report any theft of identity or other sensitive information to the police as soon as you realise it has occurred.