There are around 30,000 websites hacked each day. That’s 30,000 times customer information is leaked to a chaotic, wild digital world. And that’s 30,000 times customer safety is risked, 30,00 times confidence in the company is jeopardized, and 30,000 customers face real-life consequences.
Whenever sensitive data is leaked, customers may face real harm. Hacking an email address can lead to hackers getting a password for a private account. With that account, they may be able to learn the password for a person’s banking account. And with that, a person can have their identities stolen, which can plummet their credit score and beyond.
It can even lead to information like physical addresses or health information being thrown to the digital wind for everyone to see. And if this happens, your company will face the consequences. The market may be less confident in your services, and you will lose customers. You may also face legal issues.
To help you avoid all that, keep reading below for some tips to keep customer information as safe as the gold in Fort Knox. Because it’s also just as valuable.
1. Antivirus Is Your First Line of Defense–Not Your Last
All company computer systems should be equipped with some level of antivirus software. It’s a basic form of cybersecurity. This technology scans computer systems for strange behavior and cross-references a computer’s files with a database of known malware. If it finds any malware, most antivirus software will try to remove it.
However, by then it can be too late. Sensitive customer information may have already been stolen by hackers. While you may be able to remove malware with antivirus software, you’re still left with the problem of someone accessing sensitive data. Other security measures need to be in place to make sure this doesn’t happen.
2. Secure Your Network, Don’t Spread Sensitive Data
If hackers manage to access even one device on your network, there is a chance they have access to all devices. They may be able to sniff the data being sent between computers on your company’s network.
Firewalls and basic network security can help make sure potential thieves can’t access your network. It’s also just a good practice to only share what needs to be shared between computers. By not sharing too much, you have less risk of leaking sensitive information.
3. Encrypt Customer Data as Much as Possible
There is a way to protect yourself even if customer information is leaked–encryption. By encrypting customer information, you basically make it unreadable to anyone that can’t decrypt it. There are many encryption programs out there you can try.
Plus, rather than having to protect mounds of customer data, by encrypting it you only need to really protect one thing. That’s the decryption key. And even if that’s lost, you can generate a new one and re-encrypt everything.
4. Handling Customer Information Is Like Handling Gold
While technological protection is a necessity for every modern business, there is an old security trick that’s still effective. That’s training your employees on how to safely handle customer information.
Part of every employee’s training should include cybersecurity techniques. They should be taught what hacking and phishing attempts look like. They should also know to follow up with coworkers if an email from them seems suspicious.
Employee training should convince them that they’re handling something more valuable than gold. Because it is. While customer information may be how you make your money, it can also be dangerous if left in the wrong hands. That’s why employees need to be taught how to keep it on their own.
5. Paper Documents Need Security Too
While it may be strange to think of paper documents being used in the modern office, they still exist. And they also still contain highly sensitive customer information. So just like data online, physical information must be protected too.
There is a reason why the doctor’s office usually have receptionists behind a tall desk and ask you not to lean on the desk. It’s because that way, the office can make sure only the people who need certain information can see it. If you lean over the desk, you may be able to get a peek at other patients’ information.
It’s just one of many tricks to protect physical documents. Others are more simple: buy a lockbox, a safe, or hire security guards. They all work to protect the old-fashioned form of information.
6. ‘Password’ Shouldn’t Ever Be Your Password
Nobody should ever use the word ‘password’ as their password because it’s easy to guess. And easy-to-guess passwords are the bane of all cybersecurity professionals. Rather than being easy to remember, they present a glaring vulnerability for hackers to exploit.
So rather than using easy passwords, or worse writing them down, try using a password manager. There are apps you can download which secure passwords for all your different accounts.
7. Use a Safe Data Management Tool
Data management is a meticulous science, people can study it for use. Tools are developed to help professionals manage the sheer volume of the data that can pass through a business.
Most importantly for you though, these tools are also usually equipped with security features. They can regulate who accesses information, and how it is retrieved. They also often have pages where you can learn more about their unique features.
8. Know Who Accesses Customer Information
There is one person you have to be sure can be trusted with customer information: your security head. They are responsible for protecting all information, which means they have access to that information. Before hiring a security head, you should vet them to ensure they are trustworthy.
You should also vet them to make sure they know how to tell who is trustworthy and who isn’t. They will be responsible for who has access to different pieces of information. You should try to make sure they won’t make a mistake by allowing someone access who shouldn’t have it. You should also clarify with them early on whether you would approve outsourcing IT operations since it opens up a security risk.
Customer Information Is Worth More Than Fort Knox’s Gold
The most important thing to remember about customer information is that it’s worth more than gold. In the information age, customer information is invaluable. It’s how businesses make money, and it’s what thieves go after. Everybody wants it.
That’s why you need to protect it. And that gets harder in a digital landscape that is constantly changing. Each day, new threats are found and patched, only for more to come again. Keeping pace with security trends isn’t enough. You need to stay ahead of them.
One way to do that, and to protect your own personal information, is to keep reading here. We will always deliver you some of the latest tech news to help you keep your business and yourself safe. Stay secure out there!