Cybercrime is always on the rise in a world of increasing technological advancements. It has become a full-time business that rakes in trillions of dollars a year. Cybercriminals get their money through data theft — they hack their way into systems, steal what data they find, and then sell it on the black market or hold onto it for a ransom.
It has been estimated to cost $4 million for every security breach incident—a 30% increase in just a few years. With the rise in data breaches and cybercrime, customer data protection has become more critical than ever. The damage to any existing relationship between a business and its customers is even more expensive than the monetary cost.
People are naturally worried about the potential loss of privacy that comes with security breaches and data leaks. An occurrence of such nature with a company’s database containing customer information will drive these customers away in search of companies that can protect their personal information.
As a business owner, it is necessary to take the task of securing customer data seriously; it is vital to the survival and growth of your business. You need to take special care in the way you handle and protect customer information. This guide will take you through six significant ways to secure your consumers’ information.
1. Only Collect Information that is Needed
You waste resources by collating them. You’re also helping hackers by increasing the amount of information you can access from your storage. There’s also the disadvantage of customers being skeptical about why the information is needed. Hackers would target your database because they know your collection has enough value.
Collect only information required for your business, so you don’t invite unwarranted interest and make your database a target for hackers. You’ll also be increasing customer confidence as well.
2. Limit the Ease of Access to Customer Data
Reducing access to information is essential in the struggle to secure customer data. Not every team member should have access to information, and among the members with access, not all of them should have the same level of access. Give it a thought, does your marketing team need the information used by your data analytics team?
This rule also applies to family and close contacts; they shouldn’t have access to any information that doesn’t concern them. Having multiple people with access to information increases entry points into your database, giving hackers more opportunities to strike and more potential sources to get classified information.
These cases would be prevented if some people had no access to information that didn’t even concern them in the first place.
3. Regularly Update your Security Systems
Cybercrime is increasing exponentially, and so are software hackers’ methods to get into secure data vaults. It has become a necessity for companies to find ways to combat the growing arsenal of these hackers. One way to tackle this problem is to regularly update security systems, encryption practices, and data privacy tools.
You need to always be current in the knowledge of new methods that cybercriminals use to breach data and the latest updates on how to guard against these privacy breaches.
Establish a schedule to check if your security/privacy protocols are up-to-date and subject your security tools to a SOC 2 report ensuring they comply with the standards. Failure to do this will leave your database at the mercy of hackers.
4. Employ the Use of Password Management and Encryption Tools
The access point (the point of login) is a vulnerable point always targeted by hackers. If they can get access at that point, they have access to virtually the entire database.
A password management tool is an important data privacy tool to use. Many people don’t use complex passwords, making their accounts easily accessible to hackers. Password managers ensure this doesn’t happen. Password managers take passwords, encrypt them and store them. When someone needs to log in, they will have to pull out the login details from the password manager.
Password managers can help in restricting data access among employees. When employees need to log in, they don’t have to know the password because the password manager doesn’t make the details available. This means that they can’t be able to access any information outside of work, and it will prevent a potential move of sensitive data to another location by rogue workers.
5. Completely Destroy Data You Don’t Need
Any suitable data analyst or scientist in your organization who knows their onions would tell you that elimination or destruction is a critical part of the data life cycle. Leaving data lying around that isn’t in use poses the same risks as collecting unnecessary data. These data might be redundant to you, but they are essential to cybercriminals and reveal a great deal about customers.
Skipping this final and critical step in the data cycle is equivalent to shooting a flare from your data vault; you are effectively calling the attention of hackers to your database. Rather than leaving them in your storage, destroy these unneeded data. This action will boost customers’ confidence in your operations.
6. Educate Your Staff On Customer Data Protection
All hands need to be on deck regarding customer data protection; it should not be the concern of a select few. You will need to educate your staff on customer data protection and get them to understand the need for it and the consequences if it isn’t taken seriously. You should enforce strict rules and act against any offenders to the fullest, ensuring maximum compliance.
The information of your customers is the foundation of your business. It is the basis of your operations, and the success and growth of your business depend on it; you should not take it lightly. Hackers are always looking for slip-ups, so you must also be on the lookout to avoid any.
Our piece gives valuable insight into actions you should take to prevent a data breach. If you follow these steps judiciously, you can be sure to protect your business and customers from data breaches and system attacks.