Are you keeping your customers’ data as secure as possible? If you’re not sure, then it’s time to start thinking about making this a priority. After all, a data breach is something that no business wants to deal with – it’s time consuming and can seriously affect your bottom line, not to mention trigger legal problems and a potential threat to your business’s reputation, as your customers trust you with their data protection every day. If you’re not sure where to go from here, we’ve put together some top tips to help you get started.
#1. Know Your Data:
The first step is to curate a list of all the customer data that you have on file or are collecting. This could include things such as names, email addresses, contact telephone numbers, physical addresses and billing information, for example. Then, make a list of where you are storing this information, whether it’s electronically, physically or both. You will need to be as comprehensive as possible to ensure that you have put together a full, clear picture of everything that you have access to and where it is stored.
#2. Restrict Access:
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is giving everybody access to customer data. Only those who require access to complete their tasks, and your most trusted colleagues should be able to access this information, particularly as the business grows. Whether you’re storing data in a filing cabinet, on a computer, a server or in the cloud, make sure that access is restricted to as few people as possible and be sure to keep a careful inventory of who has access to what. If you are using online tools to store and sync data, make sure that they are set to the highest security settings. PieSync, for example, is a very secure tool for contact syncing that allows you to customize security settings and grant access to approved users.
#3. Create Strong Passwords:
You’ve probably heard advice on creating strong passwords a million times, but how strong are your passwords really? This is a really important factor; just one easy-to-guess password could be the downfall of your company. Strong passwords are eight or more characters and combine a range of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters to make them seriously difficult to guess. And, avoid using words that would be the obvious choice for anybody trying to hack in, such as your business’s name, your own name, or your family members’ names. Wherever possible, you should also enable two-factor authentication.
#4. Use Strong Spam Filters:
You probably already know to stay away from opening emails that look suspicious, but with more and more sophisticated techniques, it’s becoming easier for phishing emails to fall through the net. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to install strong spam filters on all of your business email accounts. Education is key when it comes to avoiding falling foul to an email scam, so make sure that every employee knows what they are looking for and to confirm any email asking for potentially sensitive information.
Today, having strong customer data protection is more important than ever, regardless of your business’s size.