1. Identity Guard
Identity Guard has its roots in a company called Intersections Inc., which has been around since 1996. Intersections Inc. eventually created Identity Guard as a way for consumers to get identity theft protection without having to go through a bank or financial institution. Here are some of the pros and cons of Identity Guard.
- Employee training
- Three monthly breach readiness plans available
- Uses artificial intelligence through IBM’s Watson
- Vulnerability scanning
- Risk management score
- Safe browsing extension
- Anti-phishing app
- No free trial
- No money back guarantee offered
IBM’s Watson is a cool feature that shows just how much the identity theft game has changed. If companies are comfortable using artificial intelligence like Watson, then there’s no telling where the industry might go next. If you want cutting edge AI, Identity Guard is a good choice. However, there’s no free trials for the business packages.
LifeLock is one of the most recognizable identity theft brands out there. They have an aggressive marketing strategy that all but guarantees you’ve seen its products advertised at some point. Here’s a few LifeLock pros and cons.
- Dark web monitoring
- Fraud detection
- Credit card monitoring
- Internet security
- Breach response services
- Well-known brand
- Website a little light on specifics
- Still uses Equifax products
LifeLock has a comprehensive suite of products available, but they do still partner with Equifax. Equifax, as you may remember, had a famously big data breach. LifeLock jumped on that data breach by offering its services. That’s a fair enough response, but those services included credit monitoring and reporting from none other than Equifax. If that contradiction bugs you, then LifeLock may not be for you.
*LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
**The credit scores provided are VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Third parties use many different types of credit scores and are likely to use a different type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.
IdentityForce was officially founded in 2005, but its founding family, the Bearaks, has been involved in the security industry since the late 1970s. The company’s website advertises a 100 percent success rate “in stolen identity-related events.” Let’s take a closer look at what that means via some pros and cons.
- 40-year history in security
- 14-day free business trial
- Up to $1 million in identity restoration insurance
- Fraud detection
- Covers lost wages
- Address monitoring
- Black market surveillance
- Must talk to live agent on phone before qualifying for business trial
- Customer service not available on major holidays
The 14-day free business trial is a perk that not every company offers. But to get that free trial, you must first fill out an online form and consent to getting contacted by a telephone agent. To some degree, this makes sense, as no two companies will have identical identity theft protection needs. Yet it’s still a frustrating requirement for business owners who would prefer a simpler way to sign up.
Why Are Businesses Targets of Identity Theft?
Because they have customers, and customers have money. More precisely, customers have personal information and payment info stored on company servers.
OK, so maybe that’s an overly simple explanation. But in 2016, identity thieves and fraudsters stole a combined $16 billion from more than 15 million customers.
Think of your business like a car parked downtown. You can lock your car up, which is nice. But you better do more than that. Otherwise, someone is going to shatter a window and grab something expensive that you left sitting in the front seat
It’s not only about making it harder for thieves to break into your business network. It’s also about making you and your customers less attractive targets. That doesn’t mean there’s any excuse for identity thieves to do what they do, but if they see a potentially easy score, they’re going to hack into your system and take advantage of it.
To extend the car metaphor a bit further, you may think that your business is too small and not flashy enough to get hit. You aren’t a gigantic national business with millions of customers, so why should you worry? But it’s not just the fancy sports cars that get burglarized, and it’s not just multimillion-dollar businesses that fall victim to identity thieves.
The Consequences of a Data Breach
Why should a customer trust a company if it can’t even keep their personal information safe? For many people, that’s what it’s going to come down to. Unless you monopolize your local market completely, you’re going to lose business if it turns out that you’re consistently vulnerable to identity theft attacks.
And make no mistake, a lot of businesses are more vulnerable than they want to admit. The illusion of strength is not nearly the same thing as actual strength. Denial is easier, sure. It’s also cheaper, at least in the short-term. But in the long run, you get what you pay for. And if you don’t pay for any kind of system security, then you get nothing except, probably, a lot of data breaches.
Cleaning these things up takes time. And you can’t just sweep it under the rug and hope that no one notices. You’re ethically obligated to tell your customers that their data has been exposed to bad actors. In most states, you’re also legally obligated to alert customers to a breach.
Once customers start classifying you as “prone to data breaches,” it can be hard to recover. When someone does business with you, you don’t want them to think that their personal information is “safe enough” or “probably fine.” Those are hedge words. Instead, you want them to be assured that their payment information is as safe as you can make it in the Internet age. The bare minimum isn’t good enough.
Features of Business Identity Theft Solutions
A strong password is good, but then again, so are things like two-factor authentication. Your cybersecurity shouldn’t consist of only one or two features to strengthen your network. It should use as many of them as possible, and cybersecurity advising will tell you how to turn your security plan into something tangible.
When you get customer data, what do you do with it? You should have a better answer than “use that data to sell them more stuff.” This feature will help you protect customers’ information like it’s your own.
Your business needs aren’t static. Neither should your business resources on the topic of identity theft. An up-to-date library will keep you and your employees up to date on the latest developments.
Dark Web Monitoring
You can’t get on the dark web by searching Google for it. And to get to the deep web, you’d have to go even, well, deeper. The latter isn’t necessarily nefarious (it can also be information behind a paywall, for instance), but the dark web almost always is pretty much by definition. It’s where less-than-savory characters hang out and trade sensitive information. Dark web monitoring lets you know if any information connected to your business shows up on these sites. You don’t have to download any shady software, either.
How secure is your network? You might be able to guess, but the stakes are too high for you to guess wrongly. Risk detection services scan your network and pinpoint vulnerable spots. It also doesn’t scan once and then forget about it forever. It instead scans the system every few weeks to make sure everything is OK.
Employee Cybersecurity Training
It’s neither safe nor fair to assume that your employees will automatically recognize and reject a phishing scam. Some might, especially if they’re younger, but there are many people who will clink on a link asking for their password and barely think about handing over said password. One employee’s ignorance can cost your company an awful lot, so it’s up to you to do what you can to educate them on the best practices in the cybersecurity world. Among other things, you should tell them that if something seems off, they need to contact a supervisor.
Data Breach Response
We talked about this a little bit above, but you can’t have identity theft solutions without also identifying a plan for what happens when a breach does occur. No company is 100 percent safe all of the time. Refusing to come up with a response plan for these breaches makes about as much sense as refusing to wear a life jacket in the ocean. Sure, you may be a good swimmer, but those tides can be stronger than you realize.
Incident Response Plans
You should aim for ready-to-go response plans that you can activate fast and without much hassle. Think of it as like a turnkey business, aka a business model that only requires you to turn a key to get things up and running.
If someone breaks into your database, they’re probably going to steal employee information right alongside customer information. You can’t take care of your customers and leave your employees out in the cold. With employee benefits, you’ll be able to offer the people who work for you identity restoration services. This allows your employees to focus on doing their job while someone else focuses on restoring their identity.