When you store food in an airtight container, chances are it won’t easily go bad. Once a lawyer has found an airtight defense for a client, then proving that client is innocent should be a walk in the park.
Technically, of course, there’s no such thing as an absolute in this world. But it’s good for you to aim to have airtight protection for your client’s data. It’s like shooting for the stars. If you don’t get it, you still have a solid defense against hackers when you aim for a higher standard.
Never underestimate the tenacity of hackers though. Their haul of about $1.5 trillion yearly should tell you these unscrupulous individuals are not collecting pittances. They’re in for serious money. Actually, that amount is as big as the GDP of Russia.
Now, another thought flaw you might want to reconsider is to conclude that you won’t have to protect your customer’s data as your business is irrelevant. You’re a small fry. Take note, however, that nothing is farther from the truth.
America’s small businesses are a favorite target for many hackers around the world. The sad news: Research shows 60% of small businesses close shop six months after being hacked.
Good thing for you there are tried-and-tested ways to protect your client data from online thieves. If you’re not as resolute in that pursuit, know that your company’s existence largely depends on your ability to protect your customer data. To give you a good start, here’s a lowdown on how you can provide such airtight data protection for your customers.
Collect Vital Data Only
Think of data as treasures. The more data you collect from your customer, the greater the value of the treasure. Being strategic about it can go a long way in protecting your client’s data.
Thus, focus on collecting pertinent data only that’s useful for your marketing. When you do that, you achieve two vital objectives:
- You minimize the ‘treasure’ value of the data
- You boost customer confidence
When your data is valued less, cybercriminals are less likely to bother stealing such low-value data. A string of emails may not be much of a conquest for a hacker.
However, if you collect all sorts of data, from household income to credit card information to house addresses, you’re inviting trouble for dinner. The more data points you collect, the more valuable your data becomes to unscrupulous hackers.
That can also be a red flag for customers. Think about signing up for news updates from a global news company online. If all they need is your name and email, that’s manageable. But if they collect 10 data points which include: your address, company name, company address, past work, present work, you’re bound to raise an eyebrow. In short, you begin to doubt the company’s credibility.
Limit Data Access
Protecting your customer data is a dynamic process. You could be vulnerable at any point in time while you’re still establishing needed protection. It’s important, therefore, that you get appropriate insurance so your business won’t have to go under if a data breach happens.
Good insurance to start is general liability insurance for small businesses. A general liability cover protects your customers in case an accident befalls them on your premises. What’s more, it could cover costs should a data breach happens and your customer data is adversely affected. In this regard, it’s best, that you discuss how cyber liability can be covered with your chosen insurance instrument.
A good method to protect your customer data is to limit the number of people who can have access to it. Not every member of your team needs to do so. When you limit data access, you also limit the points of vulnerability that could be exploited by hackers. It also ensures you can easily pinpoint the number of people you should look into in cases of internal data abuse.
Deploy Password Management Tools
Far too often, people use easy-to-remember passwords to negate the burden of having to remember hard ones. That vulnerability can easily be exploited by cybercriminals.
It’s important therefore that you let everyone in your company use password management tools. By storing complex passwords for your team, these tools ensure hackers won’t have a field day accessing your account. By using encryption, password management services make passwords virtually unreadable without the encryption key.
Nix Data Silos
Data silos expose your company to data vulnerabilities. By storing pieces of data in separate places, you open up your system to greater possibilities of hacking.
Moreover, data silos, by nature, could complicate your data security. You may forget where each and every location is as they grow. Break them down and instead put in a formidable data management strategy.
Set Minimum Data Standards
Another vulnerability is the tools that your business is using. Vet them well. If a SaaS tool, for instance, doesn’t have a secure process, you could open up your data to hackers when it’s shared with that tool.
It’s paramount you evaluate a particular tool’s security standard. If the tool does not carry a high-security process, you’re putting your data at risk. Knowing what are their compliance is a good way to know how secure your tool is. ISO 27001 standards tackle data security for instance.
It’s may look like a tall order. But making sure your customer data is secure is making sure your business can thrive. And thrive with gusto.