When it comes to having a focus on customer service so you can make more sales and generate more referrals and testimonials, there are lots of different things you can work on. This includes being available at the times and touchpoints customers use; training your team better; and making more comprehensive information available to consumers.
However, all of this can be for nothing if you lose client trust because your database or other company systems get hacked. You can even lose potential customers when this happens. To reduce the risk of this stalling your business, read on for some simple yet effective steps to take today to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands.
Understand How Customer Data Flows
For starters, it helps to be clear on what kind of client details you particularly need to keep safe. While of course financial information is especially sensitive, you also need to have safeguards in place to protect other data that could identify customers, or put them at risk. This includes their email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, and birthdates.
You should also have a good understanding of how customer details flow in, out, and around your organization. Analyze how data gets from one point to another, and how it moves from a client’s hands to your own systems, and then how it is processed or stored.
Knowing this will make it easier for you to find ways to protect the information at each point along the way. This covers both online transmissions, and in-person ones. Wherever possible, try not to store sensitive information in house either, as this makes the details, and your business as a result, much more vulnerable to attack and liability.
Take Measures to be PCI Compliant
Next, look at ways you can make your business PCI compliant, and thereby help to keep hackers out of your computers and networks. There are many elements to this, but start by protecting systems with quality security software. Look for well-regarded products which provide endpoint application control for users so that protection is included at each step. Security software will work to stop cybercriminals from infecting your machines with viruses, malware, ransomware and the like, and getting access to customer information that way.
Firewalls are also highly recommended, as these are a key barrier against hackers who try to exploit internet connections to get access to networks. Note that your computers may already have firewalls installed on them, but these defenses may not be switched on. Check the settings, then, to see if you need to activate the pre-installed firewalls.
Other necessary steps include talking to your I.T. provider or website software team about ensuring there are safety measures put in place on your website, to stop it being hacked; and getting all company team members to use hard-to-crack passwords on computers and logins. In addition, always make sure security software, firewalls, passwords, browsers, apps, and plugins are updated on a regular basis. This works to stop security holes from being used by hackers to break into systems.
Offer Safer Payment Methods
Another good way to protect customer data is to offer safer payment methods to your clients. For example, if you have an ecommerce website or otherwise enable transactions to be processed online, always chose a secure merchant services firm to handle credit/debit card and other transactions. By outsourcing this processing, you won’t have to store customer data on-site, plus you and your clients can feel more comfortable knowing there are multiple checks and balances involved for each payment.
When you research providers, look into the security measures different companies have in place to protect businesses and their customers. For example, more secure systems will use hard-to-crack, complex encryption algorithms, and offer support for the highest-level SSL certificates. They will also encrypt all data which is transmitted between banks, shoppers, businesses and their systems, and they’ll provide CVV2 verifications.
Create Company Security Guidelines
Lastly, it’s wise to create company-wide security guidelines, based on digital security best practices, which all employees have to follow. This is because, unfortunately, customer data is often compromised because of security holes which open up due to staff members engaging in unsafe or negligent practices.
For example, workers might open emails or attachments from people they don’t know; click on virus-laden links or website pages; give out (knowingly or accidentally) private passwords or details which can be used by criminals to guess logins; access company data from unsecure Wi-Fi networks or public computers; and more. However, by creating security guidelines staff members will know what they can and cannot do, and have a better understanding of the types of strategies hackers use to gain access to client data.
About the Author
Tiffany is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationships across multiple platforms and audiences.