December is National Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention Month – Is Your Organization’s Information Secure?

Did you know that there is a new identify fraud victim every two seconds?

The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016 — and — according to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft has been the number one type of complaint for 15 years in a row.

Without an identity theft prevention strategy that prioritizes information security, your organization is vulnerable to a data breach that could not only put you at legal risk, but severely affect your professional reputation and reliability with your customers.

Hard copy and electronic client records, HR files, financial and tax documents, and more are all susceptible to criminals and hackers coming up with new ways to steal important data. So what can you do to protect your organization’s information and mitigate risk?

1. Implement secure information destruction protocols

Information that is no longer needed must be securely destroyed. Recycling bins and trash cans are a prime target for identity theft – and using personal shredders doesn’t always ensure information is no longer obtainable, not to mention the hours of valuable time it takes staff to manually shred documents. A document shredding service provider can ensure your records are destroyed securely and more efficiently than in-house destruction.  A secure document destruction strategy and designated shred consoles throughout your office ensure all records are protected – even when they have outlived their usefulness.

2. Assess your current hard copy document security

If your organization is currently storing documents in a self-storage unit or file cabinets, you’re leaving sensitive client information vulnerable to theft and damage. Self-storage units often are not equipped with video surveillance or ample security and unlocked file cabinets leave sensitive information prone to wandering eyes. An offsite document storage facility enables you to eliminate document storage risks while offering a temperature controlled, monitored environment for your records.

3. Evaluate you compliance and risk management strategy

To safeguard your company from identity theft and fraud, it’s important to recognize the role a risk management strategy plays in ensuring you remain complaint and secure. Minimizing security threats by implementing stringent security standards enables your organization to function efficiently while instilling customer confidence that their sensitive information — and yours — is safe. After all, the costs associated with a secure document management strategy are minuscule compared to the potential loss of business associated with breached security or identity theft. Integrate best practices into your security protocols and make sure your staff are regularly trained and audited to verify compliance with the policies.

4. Invest in an electronic content management system

As technology evolves, it can leave your systems vulnerable to new security threats. An electronic content management system makes it easier and less expensive to maintain compliance and reduces the chance for missing documents and/or data breaches that could result in identity theft.

Developing document lifecycle management protocols for storing and disposing of confidential information is the best way to mitigate the risk of a data breach.  For more information on preventing identity theft with Record Storage Systems, read our white paper.

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