When starting a business it’s common that entrepreneurs use their personal number for both business and personal calls. After all, it’s convenient and affordable. Switching to something new seems like a bit of a hassle, so we stick with what’s comfortable. However, by using your personal phone number for business, you could be inviting conflict and wastefulness into your life. If your employees are doing the same, it could be making them vulnerable to trouble as well. These are some things to think about when deciding on protecting your employees through the use of private business numbers.

The Risk

Like it or not, we live in a world that’s connected to technology and the internet everywhere you turn. Information is king, and your personal data is often bought and sold like a commodity. Your personal information is under constant attack from hackers and scammers. The risk is serious, especially if your info falls into the wrong hands. Even mega-companies, such as Apple and Android, have both dealt with viruses and compromised security. Recently, Equifax revealed that their system had been hacked, exposing almost 150 million individuals’ personal information.

If you’ve ever used your smartphone to pay for something over the internet, a skilled hacker could access your credit card information simply by having your phone number. As for all of those auto-saved passwords to your social media accounts, they could easily be accessed too, along with all of your photos. If you don’t already have your phone password-protected, do it now!

Your Options

Typically, there are three usual ways to deal with this. Many people carry two phones with different numbers, one for business and one for personal calls, but carrying two phones around is inconvenient and expensive. You could also expand your personal plan with a service provider like T-Mobile, or you could get a virtual phone number for your business. Regardless, all three of these options are safer and better than using your personal number for business calls.

Simply having a second number could help keep your personal number out of the spotlight and significantly decrease your chances of being hacked. It will help protect the safety of your personal data, and that of your employees, without adding inconvenience.

Using a Virtual Number

By using a virtual number, any calls to your original number will be automatically forwarded to the device of your choosing, meaning you only need to carry one phone. A savvy cybercriminal cannot target you or your employees directly. So, any risk is directed to the servers of your virtual number service provider, and professional telecom companies are much better equipped to deal with such threats than the average citizen or business.

Here is another reason to get a virtual phone number. Imagine a customer calling one of your old employees only to find it’s an inactive number and hearing nothing. Won’t they think you’re out of business and become irritated? If you’ve ever tried to call a company only to find the number disconnected, how hard did you try to find the right number? Did you even try at all? If your employees are using their personal number for business and change it for any reason, you could be losing business. Also, what if your employee leaves your company and goes to work for a competitor? Your clients can easily call them without you even knowing.

The Solution

The best way to prevent all these problems is to use different phone numbers for business and personal calls. You should also block your numbers when making calls from a personal phone and add your business numbers and personal numbers to the Do Not Call Registry. Choosing a virtual business number will save you a lot of potential headaches, and once you have a virtual phone number, it stays with you — so even switching mobile carriers is not a problem. A virtual phone number is the most sensible solution in terms of convenience, affordability, and minimizing security risk. It will effectively protect your data from hackers and scammers while preserving your work-life balance.