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Keeping Your Customer and Company Data Secure

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Seven out of ten customers say they would stop working with a company after it experiences a data breach. Hackers are not only targeting the IT infrastructure of major companies, but they are now actively targeting the resources of small businesses and startups. One of their primary areas of interest is customer data. They aim to profit from any customer data they lay their hands on.

As an organization, it’s your responsibility to protect any information that your client has entrusted you with. To build customer trust and protect the future of your business, use the following data protection techniques.

Don’t Keep What You Don’t Need

One of the major mistakes that businesses make is collecting information that they don’t need.

Although a company needs to gather customer data to learn their buying habits, behaviors, and interests, this doesn’t mean you have to collect and store every detail concerning a customer. You should only store personally identifiable data when you have a compelling reason to keep it.

Credit card information, social security numbers, and other unique personal information are better left unstored. It takes a lot of energy and resources to protect and manage sensitive information, and the risk is always significant when this data is exposed. Remember that confidential data is always an enticing target for hackers. Your customers will also be at much ease if you let them know that you only collect the necessary information.

Be Strict About Password Protection

Surprisingly, the most popular password in the world is 123456. Most companies are still using the default passwords that came with their devices and user accounts, while others have set up easy to remember passwords. Although there is nothing wrong with using a password that you can remember, make sure it isn’t obvious.

Simple passwords can be quickly cracked by hackers, enabling them to steal any valuable information you have. To protect against password attacks, reassess your company’s password policy. Reset all the passwords of your business applications, emails, social media accounts, computers, and network devices. Don’t use the same password twice, and use long passwords that comprise of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Make sure your employees also create strong passwords since hackers may exploit an employee’s password to enter your system. To keep track of the multiple passwords, use a password manager.

Install and Update Your Security Software

If you currently don’t have security software, it’s time to get one. Security software helps to keep out hackers by blocking unauthorized access, notify you when an attack is underway, and remove harmful programs from your computers. There are many antiviruses, firewalls, and cybersecurity tools in the market, and you need to look for one that suits your business and security needs.

Apart from installation, you need to regularly update all security software, work applications, and operating systems. Updates and patches help to close any backdoors that digital criminals may use to penetrate your system and steal sensitive information.

Train Your Employees

Nine out of ten data breaches are caused by human error. Investing in top-level security systems isn’t enough if your employees aren’t trained on how to protect customer and company information. Employees who have no cybersecurity skills or knowledge are bound to commit mistakes that can compromise the security of client data.

Develop a training program to ensure every person who works in your company is equipped with the right security training. The training should cover passwords security, safe online browsing habits, identifying red flags, and reporting security incidents.

Limit Access

Not every employee needs to access customer information. You should create an access policy, and grant different levels of permissions to employees depending on their role within your company. A small number of trustworthy employees should only access highly sensitive data.

Even if you trust an employee, only grant them access if they need the data to perform a particular task, which is within their job description. Without an access policy, a rogue worker may steal, sell, alter, or destroy a vital company or customer data.

Encrypt User Data

Hackers have sophisticated capabilities that they can use to intercept data that is in transit. Encryption denies the hacker the ability to open and read the data. Even if they steal a sensitive file, they won’t manage to open and read the contents. You should encrypt the payment details of customers, all sensitive information that you store, any files you send over a network, and any data you send via email. For the best results, use the latest encryption technologies.

Perform an IT Security Audit

To know whether your security measures are watertight, you should work with a professional IT security auditor. These experts have the skills, experience, and tools to assess your configurations, technologies, and infrastructure, and identify any risks that come out of the security audit.

The auditor’s report will help you identify vulnerabilities and give you actionable information that you can utilize to create rock-solid security infrastructure.

Wrapping Up

Every company needs to be transparent with how customer information is collected, stored, and used. If you want to build trust and long-term relationships with your customers, collect only the necessary data, protect it with encryption tools and firewalls, limit access to it, and update your security systems and policies regularly.

Author Bio

Jordan MacAvoy is the Vice President of Marketing at Reciprocity Labs and manages the company’s go-to-market strategy and execution.

Prior to joining Reciprocity, Mr MacAvoy served in executive roles at Fundbox, a Forbes Next Billion Dollar Company, and Intuit, via their acquisition of the SaaS marketing and communications solutions, Demandforce.

Find out more on our guest contributor by visiting the relevant blog post link in the article. To find out more about us - visit https://businessblogshub.com/about/

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