With more of our sensitive personal information making its way online, it’s never been more important to safeguard it.

Hackers and identity thieves need surprisingly little to turn your world upside down, and the easier you make it for them to access these private details, the more likely they are to take advantage.

We’ve assembled a list of best practices for both document security and online safety. Employing these strategies proactively can help ensure your organization doesn’t find itself on the wrong end of a security breach, which could do harm not only to your business, but to your customers, as well.

  • Don’t leave sensitive information lying around. Documents like credit card statements and billing invoices, even if they redact some information, can still be used to obtain sensitive data via social engineering.
  • Shred documents in a secure way. When you no longer need a document with confidential information on it, don’t throw it away. Shred it. Keep shredded materials locked up and hire a company to securely transport them away or use a cross shredder to make sure they cannot be reconstructed.
  • Use anti-virus software. Installing an anti-virus and an anti-malware solution can prevent your computer from becoming infected and from infecting other computers on your network.
  • Install a firewall. An effective firewall is a staple of business Internet security. It prevents intrusions into your company’s network and, in some cases, can also stop a malware-infected machine from pushing data out.
  • Password-protect important files and systems. Any files or systems containing sensitive information should be password protected. If possible, each user should have his or her own username and password so if a breach does occur, your company can pinpoint the source of the breach.
  • Don’t reuse passwords. If a hacker is able to obtain one password, the odds are good they’ll try to use the same password to access other sensitive areas of your company’s infrastructure. Use different passwords for all files and systems.
  • Don’t email confidential material. Most email systems are not secure. If you need to send material in this manner, use a supplemental platform with encryption to ensure information stays safe and secure.
  • Only enter sensitive data into secure websites. When you see “https” in your browser’s address bar, it means the website is transmitting and receiving data over a secure connection. If you see “http” instead of “https”, do not enter sensitive information.

Taking action to protect your data and increase your Internet security can help protect your business from those with nefarious intentions. You’ll find putting the above recommendations in place takes far less time than you’d spend dealing with the aftermath of an intrusion, and will cost you far less in resources and lost productivity.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi. President, Reliable Background Screening.