Whether at home or at work, digital tools add significant convenience to our daily lives. We use our phones to shop, learn, and entertain, while office networks make it easy to collaborate, share information, and build closer relationships with our customers. With that added convenience, however, comes a unique set of risks. Identity theft and cyber crime have become a frequent, unwelcome presence in the news, with individuals, small businesses, and even public institutions sometimes feeling the worst effects, such as the recent malware incident at the University of Calgary.
The good news is that there are quite a few simple steps you can take to lessen your chances of identity theft and cyber crime, and thankfully, insurance is available.
Avoiding Identity Theft: How to Keep Your Good Name Safe
Minimizing your risk of identity theft starts with vigilance, and a willingness to trade a bit of convenience for better data security. This is especially true in public places, where a legitimate-looking, free network connection can come with serious baggage. A good rule of thumb is that if something seems “off” about a network, website, or email message, it’s best to avoid providing personal information until you can verify that it’s safe to do so.
- When logged into a public WiFi network, avoid making transactions, filling out forms, and providing personal data. Those tasks are best left to your secure network at home.
- Don’t automatically trust an email message because it looks like it’s from a legitimate source, especially if the message is requesting sensitive information. Phishing scams, in which criminals create emails and websites that look like they’re associated with well-known businesses, are just too common.
- A fabricated email or website will usually have some telltale signs which give it away. Frequent spelling and grammar errors, incorrect logos, and unusual information requests are common signs.
- Remember that when shopping online, a credit card is more secure than a debit card. Since your credit card isn’t linked directly to your bank account, the worst-case scenario of identity theft is easier to manage when it affects a credit card account.
Simple Steps to Limit Your Exposure to Cyber Crime
Identity theft may get most of the headlines, but cyber crime comes in many forms. Any business that stores personal information from customers is at risk, so nearly every small business will have data that requires protection. In today’s environment, data security is critical to building trust in your customers, and attracting new business.
- Download quality antivirus software for any networked devices in your office, and be sure to update it regularly. Updating is key to mitigate the latest threats.
- Protect your network with passwords, and choose unique combinations of letters and numbers. “Brute force” hacking makes it far too easy to crack passwords that use familiar words.
- Instruct employees to avoid downloading files or opening attachments unless they are absolutely sure that the file is safe. A bad data breach often begins with an accidental download of malware.
- The cloud is convenient, but be careful what information you choose to store there, whether personal or related to your business. Ideally, limit cloud storage to non-critical items that do not include personal information.
Bow Valley Insurance: For all Your Insurance Needs
While there are plenty of little things you can do to lower your risk of identity theft and cyber crime, there’s simply no way to eliminate those risks entirely. That’s why cyber insurance has quickly become a must-have tool for modern businesses of all sizes. The team at Bow Valley Insurance is happy to help you find the right cyber insurance policy to secure your Calgary business, keep operations running smoothly, and protect your good name.
At Bow Valley Insurance, we take our responsibility to our clients seriously, helping you identify the right mix of affordability and protection. Simply contact the Bow Valley Insurance team to learn more about the many identity theft and cyber liability insurance options available.