Ever stop to think about what might derail your goals in running a small business?

Some possible bumps in the road include things such as upset customers, slowdowns in consumer buying trends, even a disruption in products (supplies) making it to your business.

One thing not mentioned was identity theft.

While you may not be spending your work or free time thinking about identity theft, it can be one of the most disastrous events to hit your small business.

So, are you prepared?

Don’t Let Identity Thieves Strike Your Brand

As the news has all too often demonstrated in recent years, identity theft is a serious problem for both business owners and consumers. In fact, just one serious case of I.D. theft could put your small business on the ropes or even out of business.

With that in mind, how secure is your small business against identity theft thieves?

In the event the answer is not very, remember these tips in hopes of stopping them dead in their tracks:

  • Preparation – Like just about anything in life, being prepared is always the first act. If you’re prepared for the possibility of identity theft striking your small business, you stand a much better chance of stopping it or limiting the damages. Having a system in place, be it something like LifeLock ultimate plus service or another such brand, allow you to be prepared in the event I.D. thieves try and strike your company. Always look at your business (especially your website) as being a potential target 24/7. It is when you ease up on such preparations that thieves can then strike you;
  • Employees – Along with the right protection service in place, it is your employees that are the other front line of defense in the battle against thieves. Your employees should always keep their ears and eyes open, looking for things that do not pass the smell test. Whether they are processing customer credit cards or taking personal information over the phone or in-person, if something doesn’t seem to add up, be sure to investigate it immediately. Otherwise, you could be setting you and your business up for an attack. Lastly, it is crucial that you vet your employees during the interview and hiring process. Remember, it just takes one current or former rogue employee to throw your small business into an upheaval. Speaking of former employees, whether they moved on to another job on their own or were let go, it is important that you render their log-in information for their office computers useless. Simply put, always make sure you close all doors with individuals when they leave your employ. While most employer-employee partings are amicable, you’ve likely seen the stories in the media of when they are not, not to mention the dangers that can befall a business in such situations ;
  • Promotions – Small businesses (any business, organization etc.) for that matter should always be in the business of promoting their brand. With that having been said, properly promoting one’s brand is different than just wildly promoting it. Be careful in your promotions to not put sensitive company or customer information out there. An example of this would be an employee or employees sharing such details on Facebook or another such social site. He or she may not think it is a big deal, but social pages can rather easily be hacked into. If that happens, your brand could be at risk;
  • Complacency – Finally, you never want your business to fall into the habit of being complacent. Just as physical thieves will oftentimes case a residence or business, looking for the times when the structure is most vulnerable, identity theft thieves do likewise. They watch over and over again, searching for that one crack in a company’s online armor. When they find it, they are more apt to strike. From changing up usernames and passwords to making sure your online store is secure, meaning customer credit card details etc. are always safe; never let yourself, your employees, your business become complacent. If that happens, you and your business could be out of business.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.