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Is Your Customer Data a Sitting Duck?

When it comes to keeping your customers happy, making sure their private information with your business stays safe is about as high as it can get on the priority list.

That said how many times in recent years have you read about companies and customers for that matter having their private data compromised? Unfortunately, it is a problem that does not show any signs in the near future of letting up.

So, how can your business make sure that customer data stays where it should, just between you and the customer?

Review Your Information Protocols

For starters, how often do you review the protocols (if you don’t have them in place, make this the year you move forward with this task) regarding protecting your information and that of your customers?

There are myriad of reasons this is important and where your focus should be.

Remember to look at:

  • Customer information – First and foremost, it is important not only from a revenue standpoint but also that of a public relations position to have secure data. In order to have the best data protection in place for your customers, review how you receive and store customer information such as credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers, email contacts and more. It just takes a small amount of that data being leaked to cause you major headaches, headaches that sometimes can have a lasting impact (negative) on your business;
  • Business data – Making sure your business data (not just that of the customers) is secure and backed up is crucial too. If the data is lost even temporarily, it can make doing business (providing customer needs, ordering supplies and other inventory, processing payments etc.) truly difficult to do. This is why having a backup system in place is of the utmost importance, especially in today’s world where more and more data is being stored electronically and not through paper files. Assuming your business is storing files electronically; check to make sure you have the proper firewall in place to lessen the chances of being hacked. The firewall should be tested and updated regularly to make sure there are no cracks in the armor;
  • Employee connections – It is also important to review and see how many employees have access to customer and company data for that matter. Are these only higher-ups in the company with such access? Is it necessary for several workers in the executive level to have full access to both company and customer files? If so, what protections are in place to make sure such data is never compromised? If you run a customer call center at your business, do you review with employees the importance of keeping customer data protected, i.e. credit card accounts? When employees leave your business (willingly or unwillingly), what protections do you have in place to make sure they can’t access both your company data and that of customers they may have assisted during their employ? This is another example whereby data protection protocols must be in place and regularly reviewed;
  • Cloud service – With more and more companies utilizing the Cloud and all it has to offer, you should not overlook the importance of protecting your Cloud initiatives. This can mean augmenting your current in-house backups via an offsite Cloud archival service. Doing so can both be easily put into play and prove cost-effective over time. Also look at the option of a Cloud-only backup service and/or better the performance with a Cloud backup solution.
  • Public relations – Last but certainly not least, your company’s public relations can take a hit (sometimes you may not recover) if the public (especially current and potential customers) see your data as being possibly exposed to hackers. By making sure you have protections in place, the odds of being hacked certainly lessen. In the event you are hit, be as open and honest with customers and employees. Trying to hide details only makes it look like you’re trying to cover things up (though that is probably not the intent). Some of the biggest names in the business world have been hacked in recent years, something your business has hopefully learned from each time.

Whether you are just starting out in the business world or a company that has been around for some time now, make sure your data (especially that of your customers) is not left to be a sitting duck.