When you are in charge of running a small business, there are various responsibilities that simply come with the territory.

One of them is being as sure as possible that your small business will avoid becoming the next identity theft victim.

While consumers are certainly targets for identity theft and other online criminal activities, business owners make an especially sweet target.

For one, they typically have a sizable amount of money invested in their companies. Two, they are typically so busy manning their day-to-day operations, it can be easy to overlook the importance of having one’s brand fully protected. That full protection includes have an identity theft protection provider overseeing any attempts to try and pull off illegal activities against the business owner.

With that in mind, does your small business have a target on its back?

Protection and Smarts Are Key

For your small business to lessen the chances of finding yourself the next victim of identity theft, there are several steps you should always make sure are in place.

For starters, what kind of identity theft protection plan has you covered? If the answer is none, that line of thinking needs to change in a heartbeat.

Keep in mind that identity theft thieves and online criminals in general are typically rather well-schooled in technology. That being the case, they are always trying to stay a step ahead of law enforcement and anti-theft protection providers.

In the event you do not have a protection provider covering your back, there are different brands out there able and willing to step up to the plate.

Whether you choose one because of its overall protection plan, its level of customer service, even because it offers the most affordable plan out there, choose one before it is too late.

In reviewing the costs, take a look at LifeLock prices and the other brands available, determining where you will ultimately get the most service for the best price. Remember, identity theft protection is something that you should be willing to spend a little extra on, especially given the alternative that is flying by the seat of your pants without any form of protection.

Your Employees Play a Big Role

Once you have a protection provider in place, don’t forget the important role your employees play in thwarting online criminals.

For the latter, they are always of the mindset that someone (perhaps more than one person in your organization) will make a mistake, albeit an even slight one at that.

Reaffirm the importance to each and every worker of not providing identity theft thieves with any pieces of pertinent customer and/or company financial information whatsoever.

Along with reaffirming this important item to your employees, also be on the lookout for suspicious activities within your company.

Yes, as much as you would like to think it isn’t a possibility, insider identity theft happens more than you probably realize. When it does, the impact is even worse, especially given this is one or more employees that you thought you could trust.

If you suspect one or more workers are working against you and your customers, start an investigation at once. You could even do a little detective work in the manner of setting up a situation to see if the person or persons take the bait. If they do, be sure to not only give strong consideration to firing them, but also bring forth charges via the law.

Finally, in the event something bad does go down, do your best to reassure your customers that you are on top of the situation.

As bad as the financial ramifications can be, the public relations fallout is pretty bad too.

If word gets around that your small business is not to be trusted with one’s personal financial data, your brand could take a hit that can be hard to recover from.

Yes, identity theft is something any small business owner (and consumer for that matter) wishes did not exist, but just about everyone knows better.

Do all in your power to thwart online criminals before they ever have a chance to crash your party.

In doing so, you give your business (and yourself for that matter) one less thing to worry about each and every day. 

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