Clients need to feel sure that their information is safe in your hands
As more and more of us not only conduct our business online, via applications and other interconnected means, but also share just about every aspect of our day to day lives, the need for data protection increases.
You don’t have to look far to find a company that has fallen afoul of having poor customer data security. For instance, Facebook was hit this year with a $5 billion penalty for their mishandling of customer data, which was associated with the Cambridge Analytica breach. This incident saw Facebook hand the personal data of millions of its customers over to a third party without their consent.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you’re going to willfully hand over your customers’ data, but that’s not to say that a third party couldn’t gain access to it without your knowledge and, for that reason, it’s important to implement some key steps to protect the information you obtain and store.
Implement Proper Employee Training
By implementing proper training, employees of your organization will be able to adhere to the latest standards and ensure that data is recorded, handled, and stored correctly.
Consider investing in courses for your staff that are recognized across the applicable industry. For example, employees handling credit card data should be put through PCI training, which ensures compliance with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). This, in turn, ensures that sensitive information is handled properly, reducing the risk of a breach (and any associated penalty).
Don’t be a Hoarder
In business, as at home, many people hold onto things much longer than they should.
This can be the result of forgetfulness leading to poor housekeeping or the notion that something might just come in handy again, so it’s best to keep it at hand.
The simple way to prevent a flash drive, compact disc, or cardboard box from falling into the wrong hands (simply because nobody knew it was there and therefore didn’t miss it) is to ensure that proper auditing procedures are in place:
- How long have we had the customer data?
- Do we have a good reason to retain it?
- Has the maximum period permitted to hold the data past?
These are just a few of the questions that any organization should be asking itself on a regular basis. This way, you can always account for what you hold and why, thus avoiding an unconscious (and embarrassing) loss.
You and 95 percent of your staff might be clued up when it comes to not opening unsolicited attachments, but it’s almost certain that there’s someone in your company who will and, in doing so put customer data at risk.
Properly maintained IT equipment, kept up to date with all of the latest patches for operating systems etc. can go a long way to protect customer data by preventing malicious parties from walking it out the back door.
Consider employing an IT professional or, if you’d rather avoid the cost on your annual payroll, then outsource the job to an external IT specialist.