Long-term relationships with customers and clients are built on nothing else but trust. In order for you to acquire new and retain existing customers, you need to ensure they know they’re in the right hands. This means there can be no mistakes on your side - and that includes data breaches.
Data breaches can harm your business irreversibly, and cause you to lose a significant percentage of your customers. If a data breach becomes newsworthy, it can also scare future customers away. Therefore, you need to learn how to prevent data breaches from happening. We’ve put together the ultimate guide which has all the information that you need about avoiding data breaches.
Train Your Employees
Security breaches don’t always happen because hackers from the dark web break into your computer systems and steal your data. Sometimes, they come right through the front door. Unfortunately, it is often an employee who holds that door open.
Raise security awareness amongst your employees by giving them proper education on security practices and policies. Provide refresher courses so that even seasoned workers can stay on top of things. Do you have an internal newsletter? Use it to share information on the latest techniques used by hackers to access data.
It’s especially important to educate employees about phishing and social engineering. These are common techniques used to convince workers to provide unauthorized people access to data, confidential paperwork, and other materials.
If you need help creating effective training materials, there are many resources and tools available to you. Use the following to help you create well-written, visual materials for your training sessions: Canva, Grammarly, Supreme Dissertations, Camtasia, and Easy Test Maker.
Keep Your Software up to Date
Pay special attention to maintaining the software that you use. Keep it updated and working smoothly. Subscribe to any emails or notifications that let you know when an update or security patch is available. For your apps, be sure to enable automatic updates. Also, pay attention to Google Play and The App Store. When an app is proven to be unsafe, and the developers won’t fix things, they will be ‘delisted’. If your app is no longer available, that’s a sign you should delete it and find something else to use.
Secure Your Systems
Invest some extra money into installing the best possible security system for your company’s computers. This will stop the hackers from finding their way to confidential information. This includes firewall, antivirus software, and spyware removal tools.
Sync Your Apps
Cross-department collaboration and synchronization are highly important if you want things to run smoothly and everyone to be on the same page. Make sure all your apps are synced so as to avoid mistakes, human errors, and consequently, data breaches.
It should be a function of your IT department to ensure that everyone is on the same page with regard to apps and software. The last thing you want is an employee out there with a version of the software that has exceeded its end-of-support date.
If you do allow employees to bring in their own hardware and software, there should still be an approval and update process. Any device that accesses or stores company data must be subject for review.
Enforce Strong Passwords And Credentials
Weak passwords and passwords which are securely stored are a real problem when it comes to data security. Make sure all your colleagues and employees understand the importance of a strong password, user name, and other credentials. Passwords should be a sufficient length, should be difficult to predict, and should contain a variety of letters and characters. If possible, consider using password phrases instead of simple passwords.
You might also consider other security measures. These include biometric scanning, storing devices in secured areas, and installing alarms on devices.
Encrypt Your Data
Eventually, data needs to leave your system, and be sent elsewhere. That data should be encrypted before it is sent. In addition to this, the most sensitive and significant data stored on your systems needs to be encrypted for data security. Ensure this becomes a regular practice in your company.
Are you using cloud storage? Your package should include appropriate encryption of any sensitive data. Discuss this with your provider so that you can ensure that you have the protection you need.
Implement Remote Data Backup
Everyone needs to back up their data, so as to ensure it is never lost. However, backup tapes can be stolen, overwritten, or used for nefarious purposes. Find a provider who will provide offsite data backup for your important data.
Conduct Frequent Internal And External Audits
There’s a relatively new career specialty known as ethical hacking. An ethical hacker attempts to break into computer systems, networks, and other resources. Instead of doing this for nefarious purposes, they do this with the permission of the owner of those systems. Their job is to identify any weaknesses that could lead to a data breach or other issue.
If you hire an ethical hacker, that allows you to benefit from a very intensive form of external auditing. If that’s a bit extreme for your needs, you can also hire a data security firm to examine your systems to determine whether or not your current security measures are adequate, and whether or not those procedures are being followed.
In the meantime, your internal IT staff and security department should conduct regular audits as well. It is their job to ensure that everyone is in compliance with security policies. They should also have procedures in place to monitor activity in order to catch any irregular activity.
Educate Your Consumers
You cannot fully control the actions of your customers, but you can make every effort to educate them so that they make the best decisions possible regarding their data on your systems. First, if you have any system in place that allows customers to sign on, place orders, or maintain their account information, set the same password standards that you do for your employees. When customers sign up, make them read your privacy and security policies, and acknowledge that they have done so.
If you become aware of a phishing attempt directed at your customers, let them know. Tell them how to handle the phishing attempt, and give them a way to contact you for help. Let them know how you secure their data as well. You can increase customer trust if they know you are taking action to keep their information safe.
Fostering customer trust is about helping your customers to avoid any negative experiences in their relationships with you and your business. Data security is one of the most important aspects of this. A customer may forgive you if you have an inept salesperson, or if their order is delayed; they are much less likely to forgive or trust you again if you cause their personal or financial data to land in the wrong hands.
Make sure to follow the steps in the guide above to ensure no data breach ever happens to you. This will help you build strong, long-term relationships with all your clients and improve the overall success of your company.
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