Everything is becoming digital. Many things are becoming more simple because of this electronic revolution; payments are becoming easier and more secure, advertising opportunities using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are limitless and mostly free. Your customer base isn't limited to who comes to your brick and mortar location or your market booth; anyone can buy from you, if you've got the right website in place. With this digital boom comes a new frontier of issues; along with the potential for your physical property to be stolen, you must now be mindful of protecting your digital identity, too. Let's talk about six ways you can protect your business! Buy a Safe This is probably the most basic and classic security upgrade you can make; it protects you against a number of difficult situations. Many safes on the market today are fire-proof, blast-proof, water-proof, and most importantly, theft-proof. Depending on the size of your safe, someone looking to take your personal information isn't going to be able to just carry it off; and if they did, they won't be able to open it. Safes are easily accessible by visiting your local hardware store, or you can special order them online, too. This method of protection is great for storing social security numbers, passports, extra keys, titles, deeds, and any number of other important documents that could help an identity thief steal your hard-earned credit. Stay extra safe by carrying the safe keys on a key ring, and stashing a second set somewhere that would be impossible for another person to find. Password Safety Gone are the days when using "Password1234" is a funny joke; yes, it is easy to remember, but please; don't use it! Your password is the key that unlocks your digital life. Banking, merchant services, tax records, emails with passwords, etc; all of this information is kept secure, but this security partly depends on the password that you choose. To make sure you have the most secure password, follow these guidelines: Use a reputable website that will provide a randomized password, or do this yourself by combining non-consecutive letters and numbers. Use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters (!, ?, #, $, and so on) to make your password more difficult to guess. Do not use: family names, names of pets, names of children, birthdays of any of the previous, your business name, or consecutive letters and numbers. A randomized password can be more difficult to remember. You can get a little help with this by downloading a password keeper app that is secured by a PIN, or, if you must write the password down, do so and keep it secure in the new safe you just bought. Update Your Device How many times do we see "update now?" pop up on a device and groan; the minor inconvenience of taking a few minutes to update your device now is well worth the security it often brings. Most devices update frequently to patch security holes and bugs that could potentially compromise your system. Take a few minutes and update your device so that you are protected against the newest threats. Speaking of Threat; Do Your Research Stay up-to-date with the newest trends in information/identity theft. Take a few minutes once a month to research new scams so that you can make sure you aren't in the crosshairs; and if you do, you'll know what to do. Use Reputable Merchant Services If you are accepting debit or credit cards, make sure that you sign up with a reputable company that has an established security protocol so that both you and your customers are covered. Yes, it may be more expensive, but as we know as Handcrafters, you get what you pay for. Back Up Your Data Sometimes, the worst data malfunction is the one that happens on your own device. There are many data backup services available, some of which offer a limited amount of space for free and then more space for a reasonable fee. It will be time-consuming at first, but back up your data. Computers and other devices are not immune to crashing, and you will be thankful that you backed everything up if you take the time to do it. Protecting your identity and business are extremely important; by doing this, you are making sure to shield not only yourself, but your customers from future issues. To take extra security steps, install an alarm system at your brick and mortar location, and if you decide to hire employees, don't be afraid to screen them. There is no such thing as being too prepared; a little bit of legwork now will give you peace of mind so that you can focus on what really matters; you and your business! Having insurance can add an extra layer of security to your assets. Check out the insurance options that we offer at the HSCG.