Three Services You Need To Reduce Unauthorized Access To Your Business Customers' Information

Business Blog

Companies are regularly in the news for security breaches with their customer information. While we think of this information as all being in electronic databases and nefarious hackers in far-off locations breaking in to gain access, the truth is that most business fraud is much less high-tech.

In reality, paper documents are an easier way for the criminally minded to get unauthorized information. Plus, it can be easy for unscrupulous employees to gather confidential information and sell or give it to a third party.

What's the answer to keeping your company safe? It's important to have a company security policy in place for handling and disposing of important paperwork. Depending on the size and work of your company, you may already have policies in place to adhere to federal and state regulations about how you manage confidential client information.

But if you're not a huge corporation, you may need to consider how you'll reduce fraud through the smart management of documents. Here are three services you should be considering for your small or medium-sized business.

1. Secure document storage.

A file cabinet in your assistant manager's office may sound like a good idea -- after all, it has a lock, right? But it's very easy for most determined people to access. While it can be expensive to store documents securely off-site, it's worth the cost if it prevents your customers' information from being stolen. The resulting bad publicity could bring down your company.

As an added bonus, off-site storage facilities are not only secure, but they can keep documents safe from natural disasters, fires and other "acts of God" that could destroy your building and its contents.

2. Off-site document shredding.

Small office paper shredders are almost more trouble than they are worth. You cannot put many pages through them at one time, leading to lots of employee time spent feeding the shredder. Plus, they can jam and malfunction, which takes even more time to fix and prevent.

The answer is to hire a firm that provides document shredding services, but not all shredding companies are the same. Look for one that:

  • Is locally based and/or easy to contact. For a small or medium business with one or a couple of locations, you can more easily discuss issues and schedule shredding times when the partner you choose is nearby or always available.
  • Doesn't touch the documents. There is less chance of fraud if the documents are shredded without being managed by humans.
  • Has a great employee vetting process in place. Background checks and regular oversight should be done to ensure anyone in contact with you or your papers is extremely trustworthy.

3. Legal counsel on what to keep secure.

It makes sense, if you're going to go to the trouble to store or shred important documents, that you consult a legal expert to let you know what you should be storing and shredding. Hire an attorney to help you come up with a plan for your business -- it will be worth the investment.


8 January 2015

tax advice for the small business owner

Tax time comes around every single year. Do you file married jointly or separately? Do you claim your property taxes and medical bills? What about a home office and the expenses for it? Were there any changes in tax laws that you should be aware of? My site is filled with advice for small business owners for tax time. You will learn how to get the most from your return and what could trigger an audit or red flag on your tax forms this year. Hopefully, what I have included on my site will help at least a few small business owners get through tax time with less stress.