It’s hard to forget the 40 million Target shoppers whose credit and debit card information was stolen just after the holiday shopping rush in December 2013. More recently, hackers breached social media giant Facebook to expose personal information and customer data of more than 80 million users.
Today, personal data is interconnected between social sites, mobile phones, search engine history, and online banking. Phone numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information are stored and saved on dozens of databases based on where you shopped or created a profile. With data breaches becoming a common occurrence, it is imperative for organizations to invest in data protection to ensure the safety of their customers and their business.
Here are 5 simple ways to prevent your customers from becoming the victims of a data breach.
Educate Your Staff About Suspicious Emails & Cyber Security
Julianna Reene, Senior Associate of Crisis Consulting at PwC states, “The biggest cyber vulnerability to a company is the workforce: the individual that doesn’t think they are a target so doesn’t spend time on basic cyber hygiene and the most common mistake is poor password security.” Once a hacker has access to your staff member’s account, they have unlimited access to your company data. So what are some of the steps that you can take?
- Don’t use social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or other personally identifiable information as passwords.
- Make sure that your staff members do not share their passwords.
- Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Update your password every 1-3 months.
- Make sure contract workers, temporary employees, and remote staff who have access to your servers are in compliance with your company policy and have the appropriate protection on their personal computers.
Share Securely & Encrypt Your Data
Your customer information should be stored and encrypted on a secure database that is only accessible to employees via a password – especially on the cloud. While Microsoft Excel is the most convenient and common way to import and export datasets, it is also the most dangerous. If your staff needs to collaborate with client data, be sure they are sending information internally through a secure platform like ShareFile. There are also cloud services that provide local encryption and decryption of your files in addition to storing and backing up the information safely on the cloud.
Invest in Malware Protection
While most large organizations have malware protection, updates should be implemented as frequently as possible. Malicious code is released daily, and your malware software is only as good as the latest update. Other best IT practices include not allowing users to install software on company-provided devices or make changes to configuration settings. Only IT staff should have administrative rights to employee workstations since malware runs through the security context of the logged-in user.
Don’t Sell Customer Data
As tempting as it is to add an additional revenue stream to your business, income from data sales can decrease consumer trust and increase your risk of data exposure. Even if your company is not breached, but the company who you sold the data to is compromised, your customers will feel a sense of distrust for selling their data to a negligent company. It is in your best interest, in this case, to place people before profit.
Have A Backup Plan
In the horrible event that your database is compromised, a duplicate copy of your data ensures that important information is not lost. You can host this data on several different platforms like an external hard drive or a secure cloud server. Your organization can never be too cautious when it comes to keeping client records and profiles secure.
At MOSAIC, we handle your client data with the utmost caution. These security tips are to encourage all of our partners to prioritize customer security in our digital age. Contact our team for more ways we can help!