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December 2, 2015

How Your Company Can Prevent Online Theft

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As technology has evolved, so have the many ways criminals use to steal information and commit crimes. One of the biggest problems in society is identity theft, which is done mostly online or through computer programs. Originally a problem mostly for individuals, in recent years, businesses have become the targets of criminals using their hacking skills and con games to steal personal information of customers everywhere. As a result, more and more companies have been investing time and money in upgrading their online security features. Even though identity theft continues to be a problem, there are steps your business can take to prevent online theft.

Educate Your Employees
If employees are well-versed on the many scams and other tactics used by criminals in attempts to get information, much of your online theft can be prevented. Many companies regularly hold computer security seminars to update employees on the latest scams and how to not fall victim to them. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams and see if it might help your business to address these issues.

For example, in 2013, Target’s security was breached through credit card machines and the hackers likely generated $53.7 million from the stolen information. Though this blow was terrible, it also paved the way for better credit security, and the company was able to bounce back by refunding money and securing continuing customers.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Protection
All the computers in your business should have the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware protection available. For companies that fail to keep these protections updated, the job of criminals becomes much easier. As viruses become more sophisticated and harder for unsuspecting employees to detect, it’s vital to keep the virus and spyware protection upgraded at all times.

Free programs will do the job, but it may pay more to invest in a higher security program. See what you can afford and stay up-to-date with their newest uploads.

Take Advantage of Exchange Reporting
One of the best ways to monitor online activity for suspicious communications and other activities, is by using an exchange reporting solution. This software, when installed on a company’s computers, enables management as well as IT personnel to monitor online activities and act accordingly before any damage can be done or information stolen. Companies like Stealthbits can even help monitor access to e-mail mailboxes and public folders you and your clients share. This makes your job easier and can help in training employees to be more streamlined in their security processes.

Invest in Encryption Software
This technology, which relies on so-called “keys” to decrypt data, is currently the most effective way to prevent online theft. However, to make sure theft won’t occur, it’s important to make sure whoever has access to the keys is trustworthy and knowledgeable in what data can be released and what is to stay private. Like most things, if the keys are given to the wrong person, security could be compromised.

Use this kind of security wisely, and only when needed. While it is useful, sometimes protection can get in the way of day-to-day processes. Use the correct protection for the right steps. This way you’re ahead of thieves and can keep your company up to speed.
By taking advantage of these and many other online security options, it’s possible to beat the hackers and criminals at their own game, and leave them with nothing to show for their efforts. As more and more personal information continues to be stored online, businesses everywhere will need to be committed to stopping all aspects of online theft to protect themselves and their customers.


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Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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