As a business owner, you know that protecting your customers’ data is of the utmost importance. You need to take steps in your business to ensure that it is not accessed by unauthorized individuals.
In a survey by CSID, only 52% of small firms invested in cyber risk reduction in 2016, assuming they didn’t have any personal information. However, email addresses were stored by at least 68% of respondents, which is one helpful entry point for hackers. CSID also discovered that 31% of surveyed small businesses had not taken any active measures
According to recently published Federal Trade Commission statistics, consumers have lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year. Seeing these numbers may make you worried about your business and its ability to protect customer information.
It’s time to invest in data security if you haven’t done so already. Here are some tips for protecting your customers’ data:
Only keep what you need
Review the type and amount of data you are collecting from customers. Do you really need all of it? If not, get rid of it. The key to strong data security is to reduce the volume of information that needs to be secured in the first place.
Suppose your customers’ data are in paper trail form. In that case, you should take the time to convert it into an electronic format and get rid of these paper documents properly. This means shredding paper records permanently and safely.
You need to hire professional document shredding services to do this effectively. They will have the right tools and equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently. They’ll also correctly dispose of the shredded paper, so you won’t have to worry about it ending up in the wrong hands or adding to environmental concerns.
Invest in security tools
There are various security tools available that can help you protect your customers’ data. These include firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and antivirus software.
Always use the latest software versions with the most recent security patches. This includes your operating system, browser, apps, and plugins. Outdated software is one of the main reasons why data breaches occur. Using the latest software versions, you can patch up known vulnerabilities and prevent them from being exploited by attackers.
You should also consider using a managed security service provider to monitor your network for threats and respond quickly. They can also help you prevent attacks from happening in the first place.
Educate your employees
Your employees play a crucial role in protecting your customers’ data. They need to be aware of the importance of data security and the steps they need to take to keep it safe. Make sure that you provide them with training on data security regularly.
You should also have a data security policy that they need to follow. This policy should cover all aspects of data security, from handling customer information to what to do in case of a data breach.
Some benefits of implementing a data security policy are:
- Employees will know how to handle customer information properly.
- There will be guidelines for what to do in a data breach.
- Customers will feel confident that their information is safe with your company.
Only authorized personnel can access customer data
To protect customer data, limit access to it. You should know exactly who in your company has access to this information and what they can do with it. Only authorized personnel can view, edit, or delete customer data.
You can achieve this by using user permissions and access control lists. You should also consider using data loss prevention software to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing customer data.
On average, organizations have 191 “privileged users” with system-level access, according to Veriato. These users can access and make sensitive data changes, making them a prime target for attackers. Make sure you monitor these privileged users closely and know what they are doing with customer data.
Follow the best security practices
There are many ways to protect data, but some basic steps include:
- Encrypt your sensitive information. This makes it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the key to decrypt it.
- Create a strong password with at least eight characters long and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Install security updates as soon as they are available.
You should also plan for what to do in case of a data breach. This plan should include how to contain the breach, how to notify customers, and how to prevent future breaches from happening.
Working and planning are crucial in keeping your business and customer data safe. With so many things to worry about, it’s essential to ensure the safety of your customer data and business information. Make sure you prioritize your customer’s information and protect it from being accessed by the wrong people.