Do you know how much money businesses payout in litigation if their customers’ data is ever compromised and stolen? It’s millions, and in some cases, billions of dollars depending on how far the data breach went. Not only do businesses end up paying a ton in legal fees, they also need to pay extra to the people who were impacted by it. Data security is a big deal. Use these ways to protect your customers and ultimately your business.
Ensure PCI Compliance
While making your business PCI DSS compliant may seem like a giant headache, it is crucial. It’s one of the most important ways to protect customers and their sensitive credit card data. Good PCI compliance isn’t a one-and-done thing. It’s about monitoring cyber threats and eliminating them. It’s about storing data in the right kinds of locations with the best encryption to help mitigate losses if they ever are compromised. The good news is that there are companies that help you ensure your system is PCI compliant and help you monitor threats so you can stay that way.
Create Secure Wi-Fi Networks
How secure are your wireless networks at work? If you want to protect customer and business data, you need the most secure networks possible. Creating complex passwords and having safeguards in place to keep people out of your wi-fi will protect your business and data in the long run. Hackers that get in through wireless networks can easily release viruses and malware into the hardware that’s using the system. They use this malware to get into more secure locations and ultimately can compromise all the data that is critical to your business.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
While not everyone loves doing it, two-factor authentication is a very secure way of gaining access to important business data. There are many different options when it comes to creating a two-factor authentication system, but the best thing you can do is to make sure there is more than one password to get into the data.
Train Your Staff Effectively
Training goes a long way to protecting customers and your business. Staff should be trained not to use public wi-fi when they are working on certain projects. They should be well-versed on how to create secure passwords, and they should know the risks of opening emails that are not from people you know. They should be given expectations of what sites they can visit and which ones to avoid on their work computer and how their habits can help protect the customers and the business as well. This training should be ongoing so that employees know about new threats and methods for getting your data.
Limit Access to Critical Business Data
Not everyone needs to access everything in your business. Certain things should always be on a need-to-know basis only. Accessing core business data is like that. Only the people who are authorized to make changes to the data or are skilled to clean it up can gain access to it. Others can only access the documents and data that are essential for their roles. This reduces the risk of accidental deletions or someone making an error in a critical database. You only want certain people to be able to make these adjustments.
Store Data in Multiple Locations
Having all your eggs in one basket, or all your data in one place is a recipe for disaster. Just one smart hacker could get access to everything. One smart option is to store your data in more than one secure place. That way, if someone gains access to one location, it doesn’t automatically give them access to everything. This is the beauty of newer technologies and being decentralized. It means that in order for someone to gain access to everything, they’d need to have access to all the storage locations and hack into all of them instead of just one.
Develop Secure Password Standards
One of the easiest ways for a savvy hacker to gain access to your sensitive business data is through the passwords themselves. It’s important that your business develop the most secure password standards possible. Don’t use the same passwords for everything and create a method to change them frequently. This is especially important for the most sensitive data in your business. Not only do you want to protect your customers, but you also need to protect your intellectual property.
Don’t Keep Sensitive Paperwork
Some businesses still use paper to take down credit cards and other sensitive information. While going digital is much more secure, if you must use paper, use it for as short of time as possible. Once you get the credit card data into your secure system, you can store a photo of the original document in your data files and then destroy the paper version once you’re able. This means that there is no more need for storing a ton of useless paper, and you can better protect your customers’ information.
Update Your Software and Patches Regularly
Those pop-up notifications can be easy to ignore. No one wants to be interrupted by your computer needing to update. But some of these updates provide valuable patches to improve the overall security of your computers and your systems. Businesses that do regular updates and maintenance for their software programs are less likely to experience data breaches because it’s harder to get malware into those systems. It’s important to update all the software your company uses as well as use the most recent versions when possible. These habits will help protect you and your customers’ data.
Building a company is exciting to work. It’s vital that you keep your customer and business data as secure as possible if you want to stay in business. Between choosing quality hardware, following PCI compliance regulations, keeping your software updated, and properly training your staff on data security, you can have the safeguards you need in place to keep your data secure and your customers and business protected.