Request Minimal Information
To protect your customers’ information, request as little of it as possible. The more information you keep stored away, the greater the chance that thieves will steal and misuse the information. Many times, employees who are given the most privileges are twice as likely to steal data than strangers are. Only request information that is absolutely needed to complete a task. For instance, avoid asking people for their Social Security numbers unless it’s necessary to authenticate their identities.
Encrypt Web Pages
Many people who shop on e-commerce stores may ask “What is SSL?” Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a type of security system for data that is transmitted from the server to the Web browser. SSL protocols are designed to protect websites, emails, instant messages and other Web-based communications.
People who buy products online are protected from having their personal information stolen. SSL works by encrypting sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, that is sent between two connections. Hackers and identity thieves are blocked from having access to this private connection.
Limit Unauthorized Access
Limit the amount of authorized access to customer information that you give to employees. Give privileges only to those workers who must access this information to perform their jobs. Do not allow managers to view business tax forms when only the accountants handle this task. In addition, implement a multi-factor authentication system that verifies an individual’s identity before allowing access.
Dispose of Sensitive Information Properly
When people throw away their computers, they usually destroy or remove their hard drives first. They know that their personal information is retrievable on the hard drive. Likewise, if you get rid of business documents, make sure that the papers are shredded and disposed of properly.
If the information is stored in files, delete the files, but know that they can be still recovered using special software. However, this is true only for data that is recently erased. After a few months, all of the erased data is overwritten. Knowing these tips is important if you plan on selling or lending the computer with the hard drive included.
Schedule Regular Security Training
Schedule privacy and security training sessions to new and existing employees. They should understand the importance of protecting customers’ information and know the right procedures to follow. They should know the legal consequences of invading the customer’s privacy or releasing private information. Also, teach your employees the importance of securing the building and different rooms from intruders. Security training should occur at least twice a year if you want the workers to take security seriously.
Consult With a Lawyer
A lawyer who specializes in data privacy may provide the most helpful advice. Find a professional who has tried cases that involved data breaches, invasions of privacy, defamation, etc. He or she has real life experience and can provide solutions to problems that are preventable yet often caused by negligence.
No business owner wants to deal with malware or identity theft. On some websites, there thousands of customer accounts that are at risk of being infiltrated. Taking an active role in securing your customers’ information gives you more time to focus on more important business matters. Most importantly, you give your clients the peace of mind that helps to build stronger bonds.