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The ever-growing threat of corporate identity theft

Aug 01, 2013 Dave King

The ever-growing threat of corporate identity theft

Identity theft has no doubt affected more consumers than businesses in the past several decades, though hackers and other criminals are increasingly targeting companies. While these thieves won't always be successful in stealing sensitive corporate information to carry out business identity theft, they might have a better chance of obtaining client information, which can be just as damaging to the firm.

ID verification protocols need to be refined in light of the increasingly prevalent crime, and should include a variety of structures that relate to the security and destruction of digital and physical records. While hackers are certainly become more common and digital files can be accessed from remote locations, physical documents remain the biggest sources of identity theft. Records retention and destruction policies, as well as enforcement protocols, can reduce the rate of this crime.

Poor ID verification's damaging after effects

The Lehigh Valley Business Journal recently explained some of the ways in which identity theft damages companies, especially when it comes to the security of employees' information. The news provider cited research that indicated that the amount of time and money which need to go into rectifying an identity theft event are enormous, with more serious breaches taking more than 600 hours to correct.

The financial damages of identity theft span far beyond manpower as well. For example, companies that cannot prove that they had reasonably acceptable defenses in place at the time of the data breach or other event that led to identity theft could be fined or sanctioned. The loss of face can also be devastating, especially for younger, smaller companies that are just setting out on the branding path.

Identity theft as business responsibility
The Willits News recently reported explained some of the reasons why businesses need to take ID verification just as seriously as other financial matters. According to the news provider, businesses have increasingly balked on identity theft defense, thinking that they would never become victims of the crime. However, identity theft leads to hundreds of billions of dollars in losses every year, and a growing majority of companies have now experienced at least one instance of the crime.

The source explained that one of the best ways to refine ID verification strategies and avoid identity theft is to pay more attention to the information that is being collected by employees, and how that data is being used, managed and disposed of. For example, business owners should ensure that all unnecessary data is not stored in the system and that retention policies are enforced regularly.

The Willits News also recommended implementing strict access controls, not allowing unauthorized employees to access sensitive information or even the storage environments in which they're stored. Data security is a game that is completely contingent upon controls, and hackers or other threatening parties will always work to discover vulnerabilities in the system.

By making it as hard as possible to break into data storage environments or facilities in which sensitive physical records are stored, businesses can better avoid the risk of identity theft.