Your customers entrust their personal data to you and your company. Your employees may easily share information, though, particularly if you operate an open office with little privacy. Protect your customers’ information and identities when you follow several tips.
Collect Only the Data you Need
Unless you need a customer’s driver’s license number or Social Security number for a specific purpose related to the transaction, don’t collect this data. Ask only for the data you need, and reduce access to information that could be compromised.
Use Data Only for Legitimate Purposes
The data you collect may be used to complete a sale or open a line of credit, but don’t use a customer’s data for any other purpose. Improper use of data can compromise a customer and place your company at risk.
Store Data Properly
Protect sensitive customer data when you store it electronically and never on paper. Then encrypt all data and lock it in a centralized location, not on a USB drive or other removable media. When you’re ready to erase the data, wipe it from your system and shred any paper files.
Use a Dedicated Server
While you could use a shared server to save money, a dedicated server reduces a hacker’s ability to access your data. It reduces vulnerability and improves security.
Protect Your Network
Secure the information on your network when you update your system’s anti-virus and firewall protection and scan often for malware. Perform regular updates on all computers and other connected devices, too.
Secure Your Devices
Use only updated computers, tablets, smartphones, printers, fax machines and all devices as you improve security. Then ensure all devices that connect to the internet are kept locked when not in use. When employees must connect remotely to your network, ensure they use a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Backup Data Regularly
Schedule data backups at least daily. This step secures data as you collect it and reduces the risks of theft.
Maintain a “need to know” attitude as you protect data. If employees don’t need access to the information stored on paper or electronically, they shouldn’t have access to it.
Educate your entire staff about how to protect customer information. They should know how to maintain confidentiality during every step of their customer interaction, including before the sale, when they collect payment and during any follow-up.
Employees should also know how to:
- Update software.
- Lock computers when they’re not in use.
- Avoid downloading malware.
- Change passwords often.
Protect customer data in your open office when you take these steps. When you and your team secure data during every step of your customer interaction, you reduce the risk of an expensive cyber breach.