Keeping the clients’ sensitive information secure is a paramount part of business ethics. If a company becomes the victim of a breach, the consequences could turn fatal for its performance and finances. The public expects the companies they trust their information with to be professionals and prioritise their confidentiality and security.
If you run a business, you need to find a balance between the demanding nature of the industry to customise services according to the customers’ needs and the necessity to safeguard your clients’ information. Fortunately, you can follow a set of steps to protect your business sensitive data and prevent dealing with a legal and PR disaster.
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Manage employee access
The first step in protecting your clients’ data is managing access to their files. You can limit the number of employees who can access customer data by setting passwords for your servers and computers. Make sure to change them regularly, especially after an employee leaves your company. This strategy would prevent disgruntled people from deleting, stealing, or altering your clients’ information. It’s also paramount to set complex passwords that are difficult to guess and contain numbers and symbols.
It would be best if you also had in place a company policy for collecting, storing, and using confidential information.
And last but not least, limit the number of employees accessing the information. This leaves you with fewer people to train and make mistakes.
Employ smart password protection strategies
Password protection is challenging for most companies, especially for small ones. Fortunately, the Internet provides plenty of information on how to create strong passwords, and you can follow the guidelines to secure your devices and software. However, when you ask your employees to create complex passwords for their accounts and devices, they might be tempted to use the same one for all of them because they’re afraid they might forget multiple login credentials.
You can solve this issue by opting for multi factor authentication or salted passwords, as they are effective tools to eliminate the risk of compromised passwords.
Use secure file-sharing and messaging platforms
Protecting client information is your company’s responsibility, and you should ensure you take advantage of all the necessary tools. If your business requires sharing information, regular messaging won’t work because traditional email platforms can be easily breached. You can find more info at this link: https://www.databreachcompensationexpert.co.uk if you want to find out how customers can claim compensation when a company fails to protect their confidential data. To prevent your messages from being intercepted or accessed by unauthorised parties, you can use encryption software that protects the data while stored or in transit.
Ensure you use a secure file-sharing and message platform so your employees can exchange data without fearing cybercriminals will capture it.
Ensure your physical archive is controlled
Depending on your business type, you might store some of the information in physical documents. If this is the case, creating a controlled space where only selected individuals can enter is crucial. It’s paramount for your employees to never leave documents at arm’s reach and prevent anyone without authorisation from accessing them.
It’s also important to label all documents (online and physical) so you can easily find information when necessary.
Collect only vital data
When you collect only the essential data for your marketing and sales efforts, you boost customer confidence and lower the external value of your sensitive information. Cybercriminals are less interested in low-value data, so if all they can get from your business are your clients’ names and their email addresses, they might not find it lucrative to breach your systems.
If, on the other hand, you collect valuable personal information like your clients’ phone numbers, location, household income, credit card, and other similar data, hackers would become more motivated to steal it. The more extensive the sensitive data your company collect, the more valuable it is for outsiders.
When you ask your customers for information, collect only the necessary details to your buyers so they don’t lose faith in your company and start to wonder why you need particular information.
Ensure your partners and third-party vendors also protect your customers data
If you’re not the only one to use data, then it’s vital to ensure your partners and third-party collaborators use the same tools you’re employing. If one of them handles the data with a less secure system, they could leave the information vulnerable to hackers.
When one of your partners wants to add a new tool to the chain of processing information, evaluate its security standards to ensure it meets your data security requirements.
Avoid data silos
Data silos can cause numerous vulnerabilities and are ineffective for data analysis. Data silos imply that your information is stored in multiple places, which can leave it unprotected and vulnerable to malicious entities. If you store pieces of your sensitive information in unsecured or non-approved software, you could quickly lose track of it. And when you lose track of your confidential data, you most likely fail to realise that it’s the subject of a data breach.
Breaking down data silos makes it easier to put a customer data management strategy in place and protect your business from data security issues. You should know exactly where your data is and how it is handled at any moment. Therefore, please limit the number of tools that store information so you can lower the chances of losing it.
Using a data tracking plan would also be useful so you know what sensitive data you collect and why you do it.
Are you ready to adopt these data security practices?
Not protecting your customers’ sensitive data is risky, and you shouldn’t endanger your business by neglecting this aspect. A data breach could harm your brand reputation and even lead to a financial and legal fallout. Therefore, prioritise the development of a data security strategy that integrates the above practices.