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.