According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), many data theft incidents can be prevented by common-sense steps that cost companies next to nothing. To prove its point, the commission has published Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business, a plain-language handbook featuring practical tips for businesses on securing sensitive data. Whether an individual works for a multinational powerhouse with branches around the world or a home office, the FTC says a sound information security plan depends on five key practices: 1. Take stock. 2. Scale down. 3. Lock it 4. Pitch it. 5. Plan ahead.