Critical Data Protection Tips to Keep Your Customers Safe

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Critical Data Protection Tips to Keep Your Customers Safe

Is your business at risk of a data breach? Small businesses are more vulnerable to security breaches than their bigger counterparts. Because small businesses often lack the resources to combat security issues, hackers and identity thieves get away with these crimes far too often. Sadly, a customer data breach could spell the end of your small business. 

Whether your business is the victim of a major cyberattack or a few sensitive documents are stolen out of your recycling bins, a data breach can destroy your reputation, provoke lawsuits, and generate punitive fines. But fear not — here are some great tips from Keystone Business Brokers to keep your customer data safe!

Don’t Neglect Physical Document Security

In the digital age, people have become preoccupied with digital security — and rightly so! Every smartphone, tablet, computer, server, and Wi-Fi connection can give hackers a point-of-entry into your business. But Accusoft notes that it’s easy to overlook the physical security of sensitive data, like those paper records you keep in a filing cabinet in the corner of your office. 

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your physical documents are kept secure. First, restrict access to paper files with locked cabinets and storerooms. When printing sensitive documents, retrieve your papers immediately and clear the printer archives regularly. It’s also a good idea to establish a policy for how long your documents are kept.

Shredding documents you no longer need is one of the best ways to reduce the risk that someone will mistakenly or deliberately come across them. It’s best practice to destroy all paper documents as soon as they become unnecessary. Instead of wasting valuable time tackling this mundane task yourself, consider outsourcing. 

Secure Your Digital Presence

Your business’ online security is just as important as your offline security. However, protecting your digital presence is a lot more complicated than securing and shredding physical documents. This is why many business owners solicit help from cybersecurity professionals. Whether you’re looking for someone to assess your digital security strategy or you need help complying with legal data protection regulations, talking to a professional is your best bet. 

Beyond this, make sure you take the basic steps to secure your business online. Avast recommends creating strong, unique passwords for each and every account you own and enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible. It’s also important to encrypt your customer data, especially when it comes to payment information.

Safeguard Your Devices

All of your personal and business devices can offer hackers a doorway into your sensitive data. Be sure to protect all of your devices — smartphones and Wi-Fi routers included — to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access. Lifewire suggests that one way to do this is to enable the firewall on your Wi-Fi router and computer. Next, install antivirus software on all of your devices to continuously scan for and stop real-time threats, and keep it updated. Hackers can also gain access to your devices through phishing emails, so make sure you and your employees know how to spot and avoid these.

Get Schooled

As a leader you know the importance of getting as much information as possible when it comes to securing data and business systems. To understand the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity and other areas of IT, consider taking online courses from a reputable and accredited school like Western Governors University, which offers IT degrees. Areas of study include data analytics and cybersecurity, and some programs offer specialized degrees such as cloud computing, as well as cross-discipline degrees such as an MBA in IT management. The great thing about learning online is that you can do so at your own pace and at your own place, allowing you to continue working your own schedule.

Protecting your customer data should be your top priority. After all, data is an incredibly valuable asset that can help you improve your products, maximize your profits, and boost your customer satisfaction. If that data is compromised in any way, you could be facing some serious consequences. Stay on top of data security to protect the longevity of your business. 

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