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What to Do This Month to Prevent Data Breaches and Identity Theft

  • If you allow employees to use their personal devices on your work network, talk with an IT consultant about managing this risk as it exposes your company to a greater likelihood of hacks. (The technical term for this is BYOD or “bring-your-own-device” risk.)
  • Update old software and replace anything obsolete.
  • Teach your employees why using non-secure email or portable storage devices (e.g., thumb drives) can expose your company to data risks.
  • Institute policies that limit when and how company data can be moved from your network to private and non-secure networks.
  • If you use a point-of sale-system (and not a mobile payment platform), check with an IT consultant to see if your system is secure. Many older platforms use Windows XP or even older operating systems that have security flaws. POS systems should be replaced every five years or so.
  • Review your Terms of Use, User Agreement, Privacy Policy, or other contracts you post on your website. These documents should accurately convey how you store and use customer data. They need to be updated any time you change your policies.
  • Evaluate your employee exit strategies. Make sure you close employee accounts and remove their access to data. (Insider data breaches often come in the weeks before an employee leaves a company, so have a preventative strategy and check activity logs around the time of employee departures.)
  • Reduce the number of places you store data and consolidate them in order to reduce the number of access points data thieves have.
  • Because mobile workers are often exposed to more risk from laptop theft and open Wi-Fi threats, create specialized protocol for them.