Barely a week goes by without another data breach being reported in the media. Whether it’s hackers infiltrating business computer systems, politicians losing USB sticks on the train, or angry ex-employees stealing important files, the amount of personal information being leaked is high. These UK examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
Should you run a business, you need to take steps to protect the data you store, especially anything pertaining to your customers. Not only will they be at risk if their identities and financial information is leaked in some way, but your business will be at risk too, as your reputation will plummet along with your profits as people steer away from your business.
With all of this in mind, here are some tips you might find useful.
#1: Only store relevant information
While it might be tempting to store as much information as you can about your customers, especially when it comes to marketing or communication purposes, you are putting them at greater risk if a breach takes place. Only store what you need, as the less information you hold about them, the safer they will be. You might also want to remove any data pertaining to customers no longer using your business, as if they have clearly made no effort to return to you, then you probably don’t need to keep them on your system.
#2: Take steps to safeguard your customer’s data
The harder your computer is to get into, the safer your customer data is. Therefore, keep your technology up to date with the latest firewalls and anti-virus software, and password everything, especially files pertaining to your customer’s accounts. It’s also worth speaking to an IT professional for advice, as they will advise you on how to safeguard your computer further. You should also consider storing data at an offsite data storage facility. Such a company will have the latest technologies available to withstand malicious attacks and will be accountable in the unlikely event any data is stolen. This will also build trust with your customers, as once they know their data is being protected, the more likely they are to use your business.
#3: Avoid paper copies
There’s no need to keep paper copies of anything these days, as you can scan and digitise your files to store on the cloud or on your computer’s hard drive. Therefore, shred and discard any paper waste or use paper shredding services to dispose of any confidential waste on your behalf. By getting rid of anything containing your customer’s data, there will be less opportunity for data to be beached, be that through a disgruntled employee in your care, or by any outside intruder who has gained access to your home or other place of business.
When your customers put their trust in you, it is important to do all you can to care for them in return. This begins by looking after any sensitive data held on them, so follow our suggestions to reduce the risk of a data breach happening within your business. The consequences for you and your customers could be dire if you don’t!