Essential tips for cyber security and managing associated legal risks
Having information about clients and customers is important to the health of any business. More important, however, is how businesses ensure that private information remains secure. Technology can be a business owner’s best friend, especially in today’s ever evolving digital world. It can help streamline processes, better collect and store data, and improve customer service efforts. Although this technology greatly aids businesses, it also increases the size of the target on their back for hackers and cyber attacks.
To help combat cyber attacks and ensure data privacy for customers, it is crucial for businesses to have basic security measures in place and abide by a set of cybersecurity best practices. Here are five tips for protecting your business and ensuring data privacy:
1. If you collect it, protect it.
Follow reasonable security measures to ensure that customers’ and employees’ personal information is protected from inappropriate and unauthorized access. Invest in the most current security software, operating systems, and web browsers to defend against malicious hacks. Outdated programs are easier to infiltrate, so regularly updating a system strengthens its defenses against malware and viruses. More importantly, have in-house accountability. Putting up-to-date procedures in place for maintaining the security of the company’s network and software is key. Should a security breach occur, existence of such procedures can make a difference in the company’s liability.
2. Know what you’re collecting and don’t collect what you don’t need.
When collecting client and consumer information, be aware of all the personal information you have, where you are storing it, how you are using it, and who has access to it. Understand the kind of assets you have and why a hacker might pursue them. The more valuable information you have, the bigger a target you might be. Avoid using social security numbers or other personal information for customer identification. Opt instead for log in identification and passwords. More layers of identification help keep attackers from being able to simulate users. Ask consumers only for information needed for the delivery of the company’s service or product and consider deleting personal information that you don’t really need.
Whether you are an online or brick-and-mortar business, customers need to know that you are protecting their information. Make sure you have a policy they can refer to explaining how you are keeping personal information safe. Make sure you are straightforward with customers about the consumer data you collect and what you do with it. Being honest with them will help you build consumer trust and show you value their data and are working to protect it.
4. Educate employees.
Employees are often the handlers of customer data. To best protect themselves, businesses must ensure their employees know about the latest threats so they do not unwittingly hand over consumer information. Regularly communicating with employees about best practices and implementing in-house data handing procedures and policies can protect consumer privacy. Best practices can interrupt phishing schemes and ransomware attacks, among other threats.
5. Check the Security of Service Providers.
A business can implement and abide by the best data and security practices and hackers can still compromise consumer privacy if the business works with service providers who do not take reasonable safety precautions. Should this happen, the business would be held accountable. Therefore, companies must carefully vet who handles their consumer data and ensure their practices follow the highest safety standards.
If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your business, you can contact us here or call our office at 920-996-0000.