These days, many small business owners use digital tools to manage virtually every aspect of their company, including key pieces of customer data.
While these digital tools make it much easier and more convenient to manage your business, they can also leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks if you don’t have the proper security measures in place.
Today’s consumers know this, and they are more concerned than ever about the safety of their personal data. Keeping your customers’ data safe and secure is essential if you want to keep their business and maintain a good reputation. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t take steps to protect their systems from these attacks until it is too late. In this article, we’ll talk about ways to keep your customers’ data safe from cyber attacks and why it is so important.
What is a cyber attack?
A cyber attack is an attack against a computer, smart device, or digital network. There are many different types of cyber attacks, including phishing attacks, spyware, ransomware, and many others. These attacks are usually carried out with the intent of getting access to valuable financial or personal information, or getting access to the computer systems themselves.
Cyber attacks have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, as hackers have had to work to outsmart robust security systems. These attacks can happen to any business, whether you’re an entrepreneur just starting out or a corporation with an international presence.
Why is cybersecurity so important for customer loyalty?
As technology has become more advanced, many customers opt to do their shopping online and use digital services to manage many aspects of their daily lives. In fact, over 80 percent of consumers shopped online in some capacity in 2020. Because of this, consumer data has become extremely valuable. Many companies use key pieces of consumer data to create personalized marketing strategies. However, many cyber criminals seek out these pieces of consumer data for their own financial gain. When they are successful, it can compromise your customers’ privacy, financial security, and even their physical safety in extreme cases.
Today’s customers know how much their data is worth, and they also know what’s at stake if that data is compromised. As a result, they seek out companies with robust cybersecurity systems that protect their data. In particular, they look for companies that communicate clearly and that they can build a trusting relationship with as part of the customer experience.
What are the best ways to protect customer data from cyber attacks?
There are many steps you can take to keep your customer data safe and build trust with them. Here’s what to keep in mind as you are implementing your security system for your website.
- Only collect the data that you need. This may seem simple, but it can go a long way towards building customer trust and keeping that data safe. Many customers are reluctant to provide data, so only asking for what you need is a good way to build trust. Additionally, this will make you less of a target to hackers, because you’ll have much less valuable data in your systems.
- Invest in a reliable security system. Cyber attacks can be very detrimental to your business in the long run, so investing in a good security system now can help you save money. This means investing in a dedicated server system as well as a reliable anti-virus program and updating them regularly. If you aren’t sure where to start, hire a security professional to help you implement this type of system.
- Limit access to valuable data. Only the team members that need consumer data to do their jobs should have access to it. You may also want to limit the types of devices your employees can use to access this type of data. The fewer access points there are, the harder it is for hackers to make their way in.
- Create a data policy and communicate openly about it. Before collecting any data from your customers, put a data policy in place that specifies what type of data you will be collecting, how you will use it, and what steps you will take to protect it. Once you have a policy in place, make sure you stick to it and communicate it clearly to customers. This helps build trust among customers.
Consumer data protection is something that every business should take seriously, whether you’re a solopreneur or an established corporation. Taking preventative steps to keep your customers’ data safe not only protects them, but it also protects your businesses’ reputation and financial security.
About the Author
Ashley Lukehart has been writing about the impact of technology and IT security on businesses since starting Parachute in 2005. Her goal has always been to provide factual information and an experienced viewpoint so that business leaders are empowered to make the right IT decisions for their organizations. By offering both the upsides and downsides to every IT solution and consideration, expectations are managed and the transparency yields better results.