Businesses bear the critical responsibility of safeguarding sensitive personal and corporate data provided by their clients. Hackers can use names, addresses, employee identification numbers, social security numbers, and credit card information to create and use bogus identities. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) administers significant fines on businesses that fail to protect customer information adequately. For this reason, this article discusses some practical means of keeping your client information safe and secure to enhance your business reputation and avoid legal fines that may ensue.
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has developed a set of 12 requirements known as the Data Security Standard (DSS) that must be followed by all organizations that process, transmit, or store credit card data. Noncompliance can result in steep fines and even the loss of the ability to accept credit cards. Smaller businesses can validate their compliance internally, but larger companies must hire a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and look into the hipaa audit requirements. For instance, to be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant and avoid unnecessary penalties, you should consider partnering with a company that will audit your systems, laptops, software, hardware, applications, mobile devices, and operating systems to be fit for operational workflows by securing your client data. There are several companies you can consider in this regard, including Techumen.
If you intend to store a substantial amount of your client’s data in the cloud, choose a reputable and secure solution. Both Google and Apple offer industry-leading security for their cloud solutions, and you can expand storage as needed. If you prefer to keep your data on your private servers, use a well-known hosting provider or consider hiring an IT consultant who can provide you with some options if you have the budget.
DropBox, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive are some of the most popular storage providers. These tools can be utilized to store photos and videos or backing up files for businesses. Apple’s iCloud Drive is a backup service that automatically syncs your data across all your devices. Microsoft’s OneDrive provides 5 GB of storage for $1.99/month, while Google Drive offers 15 GB for a dollar.
Protect your company’s servers and computers with firewalls, anti-virus software, and other layers of security. Excessive security is nonexistent. Hackers and other black hats scour the internet for easy prey. Because employing multiple layers of security software makes accessing client information more difficult, hackers quickly move to the next website – always looking for an easy target.
DNS (Domain Name Service) is a protocol used for all internet, cloud connections, and nearly all internal application connections. A good DNS protection ensures that network speakers are not communicating with a malicious actor or a hijacked or redirected network target. Some of the best DNS protection services use data analytics and algorithms to keep users safe against “dubious” websites. Some of the DNS security software you can choose from include:
● Webroot DNS Protection.
● WebTitan Web Filter.
● Cisco Umbrella.
● Open DNS Personal Internet Security.
Secure office computers and servers with passwords to limit the number of people accessing client data. When someone is no longer your employee, change the passwords. It prevents disgruntled ex-employees from accessing sensitive customer data, stealing it, trashing it, or causing other problems that can harm your company’s reputation.
Another good practice to prevent data theft by competitors or hackers is to ensure all computers are secured physically. Without this physical security, a skilled hacker within your organization can slip an unlocked laptop into a trash can and smuggle it out of the office with all your data intact. Therefore, lock your hardware or chain it to a wall to prevent analog data theft.
Your humble duty as a business owner is to respect your client and customer information by treating it as a business asset worth protecting. Hackers are constantly improvising new ways to access your business information, so take precautions to safeguard what is yours. Trust and business reputation are paramount; thus, heed the above strategies to keep your clients’ information safe and secure.