Tips for Consumers: Small business data theft

Tips for Consumers
Small business data theft

Almost every day we learn about another business that has lost important data on its customers or business clients. Sometimes the data is stolen by a skilled hacker, but many other times it occurs when an executive loses his laptop in a taxi or someone throws confidential records into the back dumpster.
The statistics are disturbing. Nearly one-fifth of small businesses do not use virus-scanning software for e-mail, over 60 percent do not protect their wireless networks with encryption, and two-thirds do not have an information security plan. More than half of all small companies experienced a data security breach in the last year, yet many take data protection steps only after suffering an information security incident.
The Better Business Bureau has now launched a major effort to warn and educate small businesses about data theft, in the Baltimore area and all over the country.
This new BBB initiative encourages small retailers to take ownership of their responsibilities, to develop a privacy and security policy, and implement an action plan that makes privacy and data protection an integral part of their everyday business operations.
We need to demystify the complexities of data security and give small businesses a non-technical roadmap to securing their customer data. The educational materials are accessible online at: The toolkits have been distributed through the local Bureaus across the country, reaching a potential 380,000 small businesses.
IBM, Visa U.S.A., Equifax, Verizon Wireless, The Wall Street Journal, eBay and PayPal, is supporting this new program. It includes free, easy-to-read security and privacy toolkits, with separate kits focused on customer and employee data protection. The customer data kit is available now, and the employee kit will be released in the fall.
In addition, the program will create a downloadable "webinar" featuring key topic experts, plus ongoing updates about new security and privacy developments that affect small businesses. If you are involved in running a small business, take advantage of these materials to learn how to protect your company's valuable data--and your customers!

To file a complaint visit: or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.