With recent news reports of data breaches and companies collecting and using customer data for their ownprofits, many consumers are getting concerned, and rightfully so, about their privacy. Many consumers now check the history of an organization with its customer’s data before they sign up for any business or interaction with them.
From a business perspective, the damage that comes from a data breach is so severe that it is better to protect yourself against such eventualities. Loss of customers, lawsuits, negative publicity, and the consequential loss of trust in your brand are some of the consequences of not protecting your customer’s data.
Protect customer data from insider threats
Insider threats are security threats that emanate from your ownemployees and the affiliates you share that data with. Inevitably, some employees must have access to the servers and databases in which some of the customer data is stored. Nonetheless, customers still expect companies to protect their data.
It is good practice to have this data backed up in case of accidental loss or breach coming from your employees. Train employees with these access privileges on cybersecuritymeasures, how to detect and prevent threats, the need to regularly change their passwords and the importance of keeping the customer data private.
Know who is in charge of what so that should there be any security incident then you can easily know who is responsible for the breach.
Be in the loop
Be in the loop on what’s happening on the cyber and digital security front. Be in the known of the cyber-attacks being reportedon the news and the methods that cybercriminalsare currently using to breach security systems and steal data. You can easily find this information online ininternational publications such as Internationalbrief.com.
Don’t request more data than you need
While it is important to maintain a database of your customers, do not request for more data that you have use for, especially sensitive customer data. If for example, you only need customer names and their addresses, collect only that.
Do not collect information about their locations and academic qualifications too, thinking that you might need it in the future. Do not collect any information that you don’t need at the moment. Thisis particularly important in protecting customer privacy.
This kind of sensitive information attracts cybercriminalsto hack your systems in order toextract this information.
It is also important to delete certain customer data when you no longer have any use for it. Continuously review your database and delete what you no longer need.
Demand for strong passwords
To supplement your efforts in protecting their data, put in place systems that demand strong passwords whenever customers register with your website or database. These passwords should be a combination of several characters: upper case and lower case letters and special characters. It should not be something obvious like their names, place or date ofbirth, or even both.
You can include a two-factor authentication for that extra layer of security.