Money

Published on August 15th, 2014 | by Anica O

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5 Ways Small Business Can Safeguard Sensitive Customer Information

In today’s privacy conscious world, it is important to safeguard sensitive customer information in all product offerings. In many cases, buyers in recent years are selecting companies who they believe will make extensive efforts to protect information. Technologies like encryption available over here are making it easier for businesses to protect information even in the event of a data breach. Of course, it is also important to prevent breaches from occurring as well. Customers will be looking for these assurances when they buy, so businesses should be prepared to explain them thoroughly. Below are five ways that small businesses can safeguard their sensitive information as cost-effectively as possible.

1. Encrypt Files

Although uncommon in the past, many customers are now desiring that businesses encrypt their files to protect them in case of a data breach. In some cases, this may be legally required for sensitive information like credit card numbers and passwords. When this is done, businesses will have a second layer of protection that will ensure data is safe even if a data breach occurs. Although there may be additional processing associated with encryption, the assurances that can be offered to customers may well exceed these costs.

2. Encrypt Data Transfers

It is very important that all data transfers are encrypted in today’s world. Customers are becoming increasingly concerned about government surveillance, ISP snooping, and malicious interception. Therefore, it is important that all data is encrypted with a high level of protection. All data transfers should be encrypted with at least 256 bit encryption technology to ensure that it is protected from interception. Since it would take supercomputers hundreds of years to crack intercepted information encrypted in this way, is effectively impossible for this data to be stolen. Everything from customer visits to the website to intercompany employee phone calls should be encrypted to assure customers. Businesses that have used these products designed to encrypt communications have been shown in studies to be much less likely to suffer data breaches.

3. Implement Password Policies

Although businesses may put great data protection systems into place, they still must be protected from unauthorized access. Many businesses make the mistake of allowing hundreds of users to access their systems by failing to remove unnecessary users. Businesses should implement password policies to ensure that passwords are routinely changed, are sufficiently strong, and that access is regularly reconsidered. Businesses should aim to minimize the number of users that have access to any system to prevent the possibility of unauthorized data access.

4. Store Backups

Even in today’s world, it is possible the hard drives could go bad over time. If sensitive information stored on them, it could be permanently lost if backups are not kept. Therefore, businesses should make sure that redundant copies are maintained in case of data loss.

5. Delete Unnecessary Information

As time goes on, businesses may begin to accumulate immense information about customers. To prevent this information from being misused, businesses can routinely delete information that they don’t need. However, it is important that businesses ensure that the data it is truly being removed from disks for it to be protected. After deletion, most operating systems merely de-index data rather than actually removing it from the drive.


About the Author

A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


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