| Spring 2009

Protect Sensitive Information

Contributed by the National Federation Of Independent Business

Who says the economy is struggling? Just look at how far $9 goes.

A New Zealand man visiting Oklahoma bought a $9 MP3 player from a thrift store. When he plugged it into his computer, he found what appeared to be confidential U.S. military files.

Most security breaches happen to small companies, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The NFIB offers these tips to help you protect your customers’ and your company’s sensitive information.

Empty the mailbox.
Never leave outgoing or incoming mail in pick-up boxes overnight. This is your best defense against possible off-hour mail snoops.

Watch the fax machine.
A document sitting on the fax waiting for pick-up is an open invitation for prying eyes. Try to stand by the fax machine to receive sensitive information as soon as it comes in.

Send email sparingly.
When sending sensitive information via email, encrypt it first, or don’t send it at all. There’s always the possibility of cyber-thief interception or an accidental electronic distribution.

Make copies carefully.
Private matters can go public fast when juicy information gets left behind. When making copies of sensitive documents, remember to grab your originals off the copy machine.

Use the shredder.
Always shred sensitive information before dumping it in the trash bin. If you can’t shred, use receptacles designed for sensitive paper disposal.

Leave discrete voicemail.
You never know who’s standing within earshot of someone’s work area. Avoid leaving a detailed voicemail if it involves sensitive information.

Protect on-site ID.
Play it safe with your ID badges, office keys and building-entry codes. Protect them as you would your own credit cards and cash.

Keep things private in public.
When you’re in a public place, think twice before discussing proprietary information or sensitive projects. You never know who’s listening.

Identify strangers.
Don’t make it easy for an outsider to pull an inside job. If you see an unfamiliar face roaming around your office, step up and ask if you can assist.

Be careful with your documents.
Remove and secure sensitive materials from your work area when you’re not using them or at the end of the day.

Note what’s on your screen.
Those account numbers and financial details on your computer screen are intended for your eyes only. Keep it that way by using a glare screen to minimize easy information access.

Limit cell phone conversations.
Anyone can listen in on your cell phone conversations, so avoid sharing sensitive information.

Lower your premium
The NFIB and Texas Mutual have partnered to offer group discount programs for the manufacturing, wholesale/retail and construction industries. Group members get a premium discount, an industryspecific safety plan and potential dividends. Ask your agent if you qualify.

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