Non-profit creates effort to help small business combat privacy - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Non-profit creates effort to help small business combat privacy concerns

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The Shop Certified sticker is meant to show consumers that a small business is compliant with certain privacy standards. The Shop Certified sticker is meant to show consumers that a small business is compliant with certain privacy standards.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Could the state's small businesses be the next target of thieves looking to get at your personal information? A group of Columbia professionals thinks so and they've formed a non-profit agency.

The Privacy Compliance Association has created an effort called Shop Certified.

Shop Certified is a sticker letting consumers know a private auditing group has certified that a small business is meeting privacy laws to protect your information.

"It's as simple as keeping a file cabinet locked," said Clay Anderson, founder of the group. "A lot of time, people may have their file cabinets up front and it's not out of the realm of possibility that someone could get their hands on paper files."

Ray Hunt at Dixon Wells Insurance Group put his company through an audit at the end of last year. He says it's as simple as employees rendering the information on their computers inaccessible if they walked away from a client. But it can be more complicated than that.

"Someone breaching their computer systems just like with DOR, that could easily happen to small business if they don't have the proper firewalls in place," said Anderson.

The audit at Three Rivers Mortgage had Ben Blanks talking with employees about the laptops they take outside the office. The Small Business Chamber of Commerce doesn't feel there's a huge target on small businesses.

"The thieves are going where most of this information is; the Department of Revenue, large organizations have great caches of information. We're nickel and dime. Small businesses are nickel and dime to these thieves," said Frank Knapp with the Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

Knapp believes small businesses do for the most part a good job protecting clientele.

"This is not only their customer today, this is going to be their customer tomorrow and they know that they've got to do what they can to protect that," said Knapp.

The Small Business Chamber doesn't know whether the stickers will make a difference to customers, but businesses who've had the audit done say it's peace of mind.

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