It is inevitable for businesses to protect the customer data not only for the reputation of the company but also to avoid paying fines for the same. It is established that it is the duty of companies to keep the data collected from the customers safe from any breaches. Your company should be able to justify the collection and use of personal data. The customers should be informed in detail about how the data would be used. Make sure there should not be any abuse done with the data. With these basic points in mind, let us discuss some tips that can help to protect the customer data.
- Do not collect unnecessary data from the customers:
Once you collect data from the customers, it becomes your responsibility to protect it. Unnecessary information can lead to data burden that can prove to be risky for the company. Determine the usefulness of the information and collect only the required information. After the purpose is served, the company should delete the information.
- Access to customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII) should be limited:
Company should make a policy regarding authorized access to customers’ personal information. Personally Identifiable Information or PII should be visible only to authorized employees otherwise there may chances of information theft or disclosure to third party or hackers. Unauthorized access should not be allowed when it comes to the sensitive information of the customers.
- Make sure your security software and network are protected:
Customer data should be protected just like the financial information of the company. Companies can take help of PCI Security Standards Council. All the crucial information as passwords should be encrypted so; hackers do not gain access to the information. Anti-phishing software should be deployed so the Email channel can be made secure by blocking risky Emails. It checks the authentication of Emails and alerts the user for the malicious activity. You should have a third-party security audit for your systems and processes so auditor can assess the infrastructure, offer recommendations and generate certifications every year. Data Loss Prevention Technologies facilitate the administrator for the automation and enforcement of specific policies that govern the use of customer data.
- It should be checked that other associates with data access should have updated security technology:
It is imperative for the partners, vendors, software firms, and Email service providers to have similar controls like your company. Consider an example of marketing automation solution that is used for generating campaign and tracking. The provider should have IP address blocking in order to prevent users outside the firewall from accessing customer data and Email addresses. Other IP address of outsiders will be locked out if they attempt to gain access to customer information.
- Consult a lawyer:
Approaching a lawyer is a great idea as your company could face million dollar lawsuits. Confirm that your lawyer has used proper language for website, documentation, and vendor contract. Besides, what are protection policies to prevent financial disaster and type of guarantee offer to customers? Make clear policy about the vendors’ obligations in case of breach occurs.
- Impart technical knowhow concerning security issues to the employees:
Employees who are dealing with the sensitive information of the customers should be trained properly regarding the same. The employees should use two-factor authentication to access data in a secured environment. Employees who are logging from another location should enter a pass-code received on their mobile phone or have a security question in order to gain access to the customer information. Companies should have BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that ensure the security of customer data.
- Data Logs should be held for a longer time:
Many IT administrators keep data logs only for 30 days, which is certainly wrong. Preserve the data logs for firewall and application servers for minimum one year so there will be no problems in finding out the reason for breach in data. Detection of abnormal behavior and methods of hacking can also be understood by such data logs.
- SSL should be used on all pages:
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates instill a sense of trust in customers. When SSL certificates are installed on the website, it can prevent the intruders from getting access to customer information like passwords and credit card information. “HTTPS” integration in your website can make shoppers more comfortable and confident to purchase from your website.
- It is a must to have updated software and vulnerability testing solutions:
Software solutions should have the most updated security tools. Make sure that the passwords of your customers are not vulnerable because of compromised software programs. Attackers can easily exploit old or outdated software by finding vulnerability and can grab customers’ data. Besides, use vulnerability testing tools and automated systems to check for loopholes and patch them.
- Train the customers:
Companies should inform the customers about the way in which their information is collected and the purpose behind it. Educate them to detect doubtful action on the website and get it to your notice immediately. Inadvertent loss of data can be prevented by timely measures against such activities. Have extra security measures on your site to ensure customers that their information is in safe hands. Make the customers aware of the reason for such additional security measures.
- Consider segmentation of your network and secure remote access:
If valuable customer information is isolated on a limited access network segment by using a firewall, security can be greatly enhanced. Intrusion Detection System (IDS) should be used for keeping hackers and bad people out of the company network. Businesses should also keep in mind the need for sufficient endpoint security and limiting remote access availability.
Data security is getting more serious with each passing day. Companies and small eCommerce websites should not take customer information for granted because hackers are always on the hunt for loopholes in security measures. Security issues can put companies in serious trouble and force them to pay ransom that could reach up to billion dollars. Maintaining strict vigilance is mandatory so public and customer relations remain unaffected as well sales figures will get higher.