Identity theft is not just a problem for individuals. Businesses in Calgary are tempting targets for the bad guys, and falling victim to an identity theft can put even the most profitable and best-run company in jeopardy.

If you are not taking proactive measures to protect your business and your workers from identity theft, you are just asking for trouble. Taking some simple steps now can save you from a world of trouble later.

Shred All Your Documents

While many small business owners assume their technology puts them at risk, many identity thieves take a decidedly low-tech approach to their crimes. Old-fashioned dumpster diving could uncover a treasure trove of sensitive information, from printouts showing the salaries of your employees and top executives to credit card and bank account numbers.

The best way to protect yourself and your workers is to contract with a certified shredding company in Calgary. The company will provide you with lockable bins for all your paper waste, as well as a secure way to dispose of hard drives, backup tapes and other technological items.

Lock Down Your Printers and Copiers

You might not think your printers and copiers could put your business at risk, but these technological innovations could be a bonanza for an enterprising identity thief. Just think what would happen if your human resource manager printed, and then forgot, a report showing the salaries of everyone in your organization. At the very least, the results would be embarrassing, but if that same report included Social Insurance Numbers, the results could be devastating.

If you are buying a new copier or networked printer, make sure it is equipped with a smart reader or similar locking technology. With this technology in place, employees simply swipe their ID card or enter a code to retrieve their stored documents. Since the documents are not printed until the code is entered, there is no risk that someone will see something they shouldn’t.

Check Your Account Statements Carefully

You already know that checking your personal credit card and bank statements is important, but it is just as vital to check your business records every month. It might be tedious to go through the bank statement and credit card bills line by line, but catching a single mistake could make it worth your while.

If you do spot anything unusual, question it immediately. If the charge is suspicious, contact the credit card issuer or bank to dispute the charge and protect yourself from further damage.

Protect Your BN

Your business identification number with the Canada Revenue Agency is a unique 9 digit identifier for your business, and it is just as important as your personal Social Insurance Number. If a criminal gets access to your BN, they could wreak havoc with your business and your professional life.

Treat your BN with the same care and consideration you give your personal Social Insurance Number. Shred any unneeded documents that contain your business’ BN, and lock up any necessary BN-containing paperwork.

Consider Outsourcing Your IT Security

If you are a big company, you may have the resources and the ability to build an IT department from the ground up. If not, outsourcing your IT support and security could be a better option.

Few business owners have the expertise — or the time — to implement their own IT security solution. Outsourcing this vital function puts it in the hands of experts and gives you one less thing to worry about.

Protecting your business records has never been more important. Hardly a week goes by without news of yet another security breach or high-profile incident of identity theft. If you run your own business, you need to take a proactive approach to protecting your data, your employees and your reputation.