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6 Ways To Better Protect Customer Data

Customer data protection software, tools and training are essential for businesses because privacy is a top concern of today’s consumers. When a company is transparent about its privacy policy and data collection methods, it earns a customer’s respect. When a business takes additional steps to protect the information it collects, it is rewarded with a customer’s trust.

Security breaches can cost companies big dollars, but that is not all. Losing customers and damaging a company’s reputation are consequences of poor customer data protection that can impact a business’ health in the long term.

As data breaches become more common, many consumers fear their personal information could be compromised. Any company collecting, using, storing, sharing or transferring customer data should safeguard this information by following data protection laws and best practices for consumer privacy.

What Is the Best Method To Safeguard Customer Data Privacy?

There is no single method to ensure customer data privacy and a business might need to rely on a combination of encryption, network security and access restriction tools to strengthen its collection and storage practices. Employees play a role in customer data privacy as well and all staff should be trained on appropriate information use.

Protecting Customer Data: Best Practices for Any Size Company

It is a best practice of customer data protection to address data privacy and security. Privacy refers to how information is collected, used and stored, and security relates to how gathered data is protected from hackers and cybercriminals. Security software, access management tools and employee training are methods businesses can use to protect customer data. Business operators can strengthen their customer data protection methods by using these six best practices:

1. Follow Consumer Data Protection Laws

It is a business’ responsibility to understand what information it collects, how it is used, stored and if these practices are in keeping with customer data protection laws. These regulations can vary by the state and federal agencies and international entities enforcing them. Navigating these laws can be difficult for businesses, but it is necessary to ensure the company is following the law. If found non-compliant with regulations, the company could face fines and other penalties.

2. Limit the Customer Data Collected

Every personal detail a business collects is another piece of information a malicious actor can access during a breach. If a company restricts the information it collects to only what is necessary, the impact of a breach can be reduced. Malicious actors might also be less inclined to target a company’s records if the information is minimal or of low value. The team in charge of protecting customer data should perform periodic audits to review what is collected and eliminate inessential records.

3. Combine Data Storage Security Methods

Secure data storage can include automated technology and manual processes that keep customer files protected. The harder it is for hackers to access files, the less likely a business will be targeted. Using a combination of security methods is a smart choice that can deter cybercriminals. Two of the best storage security methods to keep client data safe are encryption technology, which stores data as unreadable code, and PIN-protected gateways that make accessing files challenging. Storage security should also address physical locations, like server rooms, that are vulnerable to internal attacks.

4. Assign Access Restrictions for Data Locations

Restricting network access according to an employee’s role or duties is a best practice that can benefit all companies. People are often scammed by hackers who send an infected file or a link that unlocks access to the network or a device when clicked. If the company has deployed access restrictions, the hacker could be met by roadblocks, rather than sensitive information. Keeping confidential files under lock and key can also minimize internal threats to customer data.

5. Invest in Cybersecurity Protection

Achieving comprehensive security using software and tools is necessary to keep customer data protected. Businesses are frequently targeted by malware and viruses that can take over devices and gain access to files. When software is set up to detect cyber threats early and firewalls stop unnecessary traffic and downloads, customers’ personally identifiable information is harder to access. A company that collects or stores sensitive files should consider adding cyber threat intelligence to its arsenal of data protection tools to predict hackers’ motives and stay a step ahead.

6. Conduct Employee Training

Cybersecurity awareness training is a good tool for businesses that need to protect customer data and privacy. These courses educate staff about recognizing cyber attack vulnerabilities and the information can be tailored to match the business’ data collection methods and privacy rules. It is recommended that this training be conducted regularly to keep employees updated on hacking scams, methods for protecting customer data and security best practices.

Stealing customer data in exchange for money is one of the main reasons hackers hack. Businesses must invest in security to stop these cyber threats and protect customer data. With IT solutions from FTC, any size company can stay a step ahead of hackers and earn customers’ trust.