7 Steps That Will Help Secure Your Customer Data

Joshua Beckham

Data Breaches

IBM describes data as "the lifeblood of every organization." As your data footprint grows, so does the risk of having a data breach. For businesses, data security breaches happen more often than you think. In 2022, Nearly 75% of small businesses within the US reported having a cyber-attack, and 81% of those confirmed breaches were due to weak or reused passwords. According to a study at the University of Maryland, cyber-attacks are projected to occur every 39 seconds. But it's not just the smaller brands that suffer from this issue. Mega-corporations such as Tiktok and Uber have also fallen victim to data leaks.

Importance of Customer Data Security

Customer data leaks are obviously a very, very bad thing, but why is that exactly? Everyone takes the privacy of their information very seriously. If you gave your phone number, street address, or credit card number to an organization, imagine how betrayed you would feel if it were all compromised. Businesses risk churn issues if their customers can't trust them with their personal information. This could eventually lead to a major decline in customer loyalty and arising legal trouble, as some US states have laws and regulations regarding data privacy and protection.

How to Protect Customer Data

1. Assemble a Data Management Team

Having a designated team tasked with managing company data is essential. If your business cannot support a complete data management team, start by selecting one person for oversight.

2. Have a Secure Wi-Fi Network & Use a VPN

Set up a single Wi-Fi network and VPN for your employees, as well as a guest Wi-Fi for visiting customers. That way, people outside of your organization won't have access to your confidential network. VPNs are great because the enable users to hide their IP address and encrypt data. This gives hackers a very hard time because it makes your data virtually unreadable.


3. Set & Manage Strong Passwords

We cannot stress this enough. It's such a simple mistake that can totally jeopardize your business. Remember, 81% of the confirmed breaches in 2022 were due to a weak or reused password. Be sure to have a password management system such as 1password (shown above), so you don't have to go through the trouble of resetting your identification.

4. Minimize Data Collection & Access

Not everyone in your organization needs access to all of your data. With more people having access to your data, you have more points of entry for potential threats. Having too much data is another threat to data security. Customers are hesitant to provide excess information anyways, so there's no reason to gather a lavish amount of data. Hence when desinging forms or constructing a questionaire, be sure to ask yourself, "Is it necessary to request this information?"


5. Update Your Data Software Protection

If your system tells you it needs a security update, do it as soon as possible. Don't ignore those little malware protection pop-ups because they can help save you from a lot of trouble. Antiviral tools such as Norton (shown above) give your data management team (or assigned individual) the authority to own it. They make it easier for you and your employees to stay on top of the latest software updates.

6. Remove Cross-company Data Silos

Data silos pose a risk to customer data because they create inconsistent security measures. They complicate your team's accessibility to data control management, slowing down your company's response to threats. They also limit visibility for security monitoring.

7. Make Data Protection a Priority

Last but certainly not least, making data protection a priority in your company is key. If you (or upper management) don't stress the importance of secure data to your employees, then their performance of carrying out this duty will be inadequate. If your employees go through data security compliance training but they don't act on what they've learned, then what was the point of training them?

Keeping Data Safe

Everyone within an organization has a role in ensuring customer data is protected. Prioritizing data security creates a connection between you and your customers, building their confidence in your business.

If you need help securing your customer data, contact us and we'll help get you started!


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