With numerous data breaches and security issues, the Internet is oversaturated with hackers looking for easy targets to steal sensitive information and demand a huge ransom. And although data security has made a giant leap forward in the last decade, so have hackers. That’s why protecting customer data should not be taken for granted if you are an entrepreneur. Let’s look at eight practical tips to help you keep your client data under lock and key.
Educate employees and customers
Rarely do data breaches occur without preceding action from the person. But let’s be honest, predicting what action can lead to data leakage is hardly possible. The best way to be forewarned and thus forearmed is to teach your employees and customers how to use the web safely. Ever heard of data hacks in large corporations? Most of the time, they occurred because of the workforce’s negligence. Without proper cybersecurity training, your staff will not know how to spot email scams, phishing messages, and virus-laden links.
The same goes for the customers. While you are accountable for clients’ data, breaching it from people’s devices can be a piece of cake for hackers. Spoof a phone number, call a person, and say that you’re a customer support representative, asking the person to click the link and read the new terms – voila, the customer has voluntarily just given the credentials to their account on your page. The solution? Educate your customers as well! Explain the importance of complex passwords, and don’t hesitate to create a step-by-step guide on how to act in specific situations.
Besides, encourage employees and customers to use VPNs when connecting to public WiFi. Whatever they want to do on the web, be it crop image online, run a social media app to respond to an urgent message, or use a browser to find some information, turning on VPN is a must when connected to the public unprotected WiFi network. Otherwise, they will severely jeopardize their gadgets and data.
Ask clients to add authentication layers
As mentioned above, a good password is a must, but it will be useless if it’s the only thing standing before the profile entrance. The person may come up with a super-complicated password, including additional questions for the customer support team to ask just in case. While it is helpful, hacking such an account is still elementary, though it may take hackers an additional ten minutes of work. In contrast, a several-step authentication will make the profile significantly more protected. For instance, ask clients to use two-factor or multi-factor authentication and complete different actions to log in to their profile, like accepting a phone call or receiving an SMS.
Communicate through secure channels
Communication with clients is a topical concern for online brands. While many companies have in-built chats on their pages, they may not always be safe and effective. The best way to ensure the communicative pipeline does not include an extra set of eyes and ears is to use time-trusted platforms like WhatsApp. Regardless of the subject, use such channels to answer people’s questions, resolve disputes, etc.
Keep clients in the know of their account activity
Notifying your clients about their account activity is another way to protect their data and prevent suspicious and dangerous actions. For instance, if someone logs in from a different device, the customer will get a notification, either in-app or via a protected channel, and accept or decline the log-in attempt. Real-time alerts may sound too simple to pay attention to them, but they are, in fact, instrumental in preventing fraud.
Use time-trusted software
Using reliable software, such as firewalls, malware, encryption tools, and antivirus is the best way to protect data. Installing them isn’t cheap, but that’s the price to ensure everything is in order. Besides, keep in mind that even the best tools may not always deter breaches, especially if your employees have no idea how to use them and what to do in an emergency.
Learn how to manage a crisis
Even the best software, tools, and data protection crews cannot prevent 100% attacks, so it’s essential to know what to do when the brand is undergoing a hacking attempt. Developing a crisis management guide is the thing everyone having access to the system must know from A to Z.
Perform security audits religiously
Like any other field, data protection isn’t perfect and needs undivided attention and regular improvement to become less susceptible to potential threats. Having security audits once in a while will show your company’s strengths and weaknesses in data protection and help you address those issues, ultimately enhancing your system.
Create regular backups
Cloud systems should be a well-known term for every brand owner who treats their company and customers seriously. Things like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and/or a hard drive will help you practice regular back-ups and ensure no data is lost if anything happens.
Protecting your customers’ data in 2022 is necessary to thrive in the niche. Despite the expenses that the data security aspect may hold, remember that it is always much more expensive–both in reputation and price–to experience data breaches and leakages due to ineffective data protection policies. With the more effective approaches to data protection, like communication through secure chats and valuable guides, you can expect your prestige as a reliable brand to climb up shortly.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.