Jun 10, 2013 Dave King
When a company is a victim of a data breach, consumers are put at a heightened risk for identity theft. Consumer credit data can be accessed, resulting in the financial ruin of ID theft victims. Even if a business's banks accounts are left alone, companies can still be subject to legal ramifications. If proper preventative measures weren't taken to combat information being compromised, companies can face litigation.
Florida business owners may be at an increased risk for these threats. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) 2012 Consumer Sentinel Network Report showed that the state has the highest rate of fraud and ID theft in the nation.
The FTC report stated that per every 100,000 residents, 693.5 Floridians filed fraud complaints last year. The Jacksonville Business Journal noted that there were 631.3 reports of identity theft for every 100,000 people in Florida during 2012.
Hospitals, schools and financial institutions of all kinds are high value targets for cyber criminals due to the amount of sensitive consumer data on site, like Social Security numbers. With this information, criminals can gain access to various lines of credit, which can adversely affect consumer credit reports.
Although preventing a data breach can be difficult, businesses should take proper steps to do as much as they can to combat the potential for information theft. It will only enhance their reputation among consumers.
According to The Hartford, one of the best ways that businesses can protect information is to encrypt files and documents. When data is transmitted to or from a computer, it has the potential to be accessed by outside sources, however, encryption makes this more difficult. Software that provides encryption services can be installed on laptops, mobile devices and even email platforms, the source notes.
Software developers are always coming out with new updates for their programs. Some of these easily installable adaptations focus on implementing new features into products, and others include important security updates. The Hartford notes that hackers tend to target systems that they know are out of date because its often easier to access an old system.
Establish company policy
A data protection plan is only as strong as its weakest link. Business leaders should draft a data security practices policy, distribute it to employees and make sure they fully understand what it entails and why each stipulation is included. The Hartford recommends that these practices be reviewed annually to help companies stay current.