Identity TheftA generation ago, the only theft risk that a company need worry about involved physical theft. Today, data theft represents the most severe risk for businesses. Symantec reports that the United States has the highest cost of breaches in the world at a marker of over five million dollars.

That said, how can you minimize the threat of cyber piracy?

Secure Your Wi-Fi

When your company needs to connect mobiles, laptops, and tablets to a central Internet line, it’s necessary to have an open wireless connection that allows everyone to tap in. When that line isn’t secured, however, you run the risk of a thief piggybacking onto the network and downloading whatever contents they can find. PC World notes that specific types of file hosting services, such as File Transfer Protocols (FTPs), can be read directly over an unsecured network by anyone since they show up in plain text. Lock down a Wi-Fi network in order to make sure that anyone walking by with a signal finder cannot prey upon your vulnerability.

Password Protection

In the digital age, there’s only one gatekeeper to sensitive data like credit card information and Social Security numbers: our passwords. Despite the password representing the first and last line of defense against cyber criminals, far too few people understand the importance of creating complex, constantly-changing passwords in order to safeguard their information. SplashData notes that the most common password is still the word “password”, with “123456” coming in second place. You can make a password nearly impossible to crack by making it longer than eight letters, with capital and lower-case letters sprinkled in along with numbers and symbols.

Comprehensive Protection

Companies have every reason to encourage their employees to bring their mobile devices and laptops to work with them. A BYOD policy encourages higher morale and greater productivity. When a company fails to provide comprehensive protection for all company-linked mobiles, however, a single lost or stolen phone can bring down the entire network. Consumer Reports notes that over one and a half million cell phones are stolen annually, more than car thefts. In order to provide a safeguard for your business, you may need to ensure security over employee-owned devices. Research ways to provide fraud protection for individuals and secure the entire group. Services such as LifeLock monitors business credit and can help keep your important information safe from cyber criminals. With every individual taken care of, there’s no singular weakness for outside threats.

Trust Who You Work With

ID Theft Center created a comprehensive list of all the sources of data breaches. Their number one category, unsurprisingly, was hackers, but in second place came third-party contractors. While no business is an island and every company must work with other companies to create a successful products, knowing who you are working with can mitigate the risk of being ripped off once you pass over a company check for payment. Run background checks on whatever contractors your organization works alongside in order to make sure that they can be trusted with access to your company’s sensitive data.

Small Business You find yourself on the road more often than not for your small business, securing new contracts, networking at trade shows, and scouting out new product lines. You stuck with your laptop for mobile computing for some time, but you see more tablets popping up around you. Pew Research reports that 34 percent of adults in the United States own a tablet, a number that’s doubled since its report in 2012. Tablets represent a strong niche on their own, but they’re also capable of replacing a laptop computer entirely for a small business owner.

Mobile Data

Relying on a mobile broadband hotspot device, smartphone tethering, or the quality of hotel Wi-Fi is not the most efficient way to ensure data access when you’re away from the office. When you look at tablet options, like the Apple iPad Mini, wireless data service is included with your tablet. This gives you reliable 3G or 4G data without utilizing a smartphone or paying for an additional mobile broadband device.

Cloud-Based Applications

Cloud-based applications bring your tablet the software and functionality it needs to work as your mobile battle station. If you already use cloud-based apps on your desktop and laptop computers, chances are you have a compatible app available for the tablet. If an app isn’t available, you still have the option to access cloud-based services through the website itself. Venture Beat reports that cloud-based apps are particularly useful for tablets because you can sync data between your mobile device and your home base network, you don’t lose your data if your tablet goes missing, and it also shoulders most of the processing power burden.

Docking Stations

If you like the tablet concept but you’re not a big fan of typing on the touchscreen all the time, look into docking stations. PC World recommends a few Android tablet-compatible plug in keyboard docks that turn your tablet into a pseudo laptop, such as the Asus Transformer TF101 mobile docking station.


The iPad is at the top end of the tablet price range, going up to $900 range in certain configurations. However, many tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire are significantly cheaper than the majority of laptops on the market, outside of netbooks and Chromebooks. When you’re working with a limited IT budget and want your money to go as far as possible, a tablet comes out ahead of a business laptop in almost every situation, barring software.

Battery Life

Most laptops fall well short of tablet battery lives. Cnet found that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Google Nexus 7, and Microsoft Surface 2 all have more than 10 hours of battery life. Few laptops compare with that, and the all day charge is critical for small business owners who don’t get a chance to stop and sit during their busy day.