By Bob Milliken
Have You Ever Have A Fraudulent Charge Appear On Your Credit Card Statement?
Identity theft doesn’t just happen in the movies – it affects millions of people each year and can just as easily happen to you. In a blink of an eye your personal information can become, well, not so personal. Identity thieves steal your credit and good name to commit crimes that can ruin the rest of your life.
Imagine having your entire identity stolen. Your social insurance number, business ID number, access to your personal and business bank accounts, retirement accounts – swiped out from under you. Your personal and business cards can be maxed out too. What’s worse, you could lose your client database, financial records, and all of the work files your company has ever produced or compiled. That’s identity theft.
While it may be difficult to determine the actual financial impact identity theft would have on your business, you can’t deny the fact that it would have a negative effect. Cash most definitely IS king. And if yours is stolen and used by a cyber-criminal, the emotional toll such an event would have on you personally would certainly impact your business, even if you haven’t put a pencil to figuring out the exact cost.
Could You Financially Survive If Your Business And Personal Identity Were Stolen? Many small business owners tend to ignore or simply don’t know about taking steps to secure their personal and company information on their network from online hijacks. By then it’s too late and the damage is done. Be aware that about 1 in every 30 people will experience identity theft this year. AND, it takes the average victim of identity theft more than 600 hours – that’s equivalent to nearly 3 months of 40 hour work weeks – to clear their name and clean up the fraud conducted with their personal information. (Source:Javelin Strategy and Research)
The bad news is that small business is especially vulnerable to identity theft. With the constant changes to technology and the daily development of new threats, it takes a highly-trained technician to secure even a simple 3 to 5 person network; however, the cost of hiring a full-time, experienced technician is just not feasible for most small business owners.
In an attempt to save money, most try to do their own in-house IT support and designate the person with the most technical expertise as the part-time IT manager. This never works out because this makeshift IT person has another full-time job to do and is usually not skilled enough to properly support an entire computer network anyway. This inevitably results in a network that is ill-maintained and unstable. It also means that the backups, virus updates, and security patches are not getting timely updates, giving a false sense of security.
It’s only a matter of time before an online hacker finds his way into your network and steals your information.
Smart businesses plan for the unexpected. If you still have concerns about protecting your business from identify theft, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we can help you to make your business secure.
Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call –604.270.1730.
Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.