Data protection is a big concern for all businesses these days. If you lose some sensitive data, you could find yourself in the middle of a very public scandal that is going to make customers incredibly mistrustful of your company.
The total costs of recovering all of the data plus the lost revenue from all of those customers that don’t want you to deal with you anymore is enough to kill your business in some cases. That’s why it’s so important that you know what you’re doing when it comes to handling sensitive customer data. Follow these simple rules and you’ll avoid any disasters.
Know Who Has the Information
Now that it’s easy to move information around and store it in the cloud, you have to be careful about who has access to sensitive information. If you’re not keeping tabs on it, you can quickly lose track of which employees had access to that information. In the event of a cyber attack, the most important thing is that you find where the weakness is and plug the hole right away. If you don’t have a clue which computer the data was taken from, that’s a pretty difficult task and the longer you leave yourself exposed, the more damage will be done. That’s why it’s vital that you always keep track of information and only give access to people that actually need it to do their jobs. The easiest way to keep track of all of the sensitive information that you hold about customers is to use an enterprise document management system that can keep tabs on everything for you. Trying to keep track manually is going to get confusing, especially if you’re holding large amounts of data on your customers.
Put Processes in Place
All good businesses run on processes; they help us to maintain consistency, improve efficiency and avoid mistakes. They’re more important than ever when it comes to handling customer data. When employees are sending data to one another or using it for something, they need to follow certain steps to reduce the risks of losing it. You need to write up those steps and make sure that every single staff member is following that procedure whenever they access customer data, no matter how insignificant the information might seem.
Know the Law
This is a particularly important one at the moment because, in the wake of some big scandals about data handling at Facebook, the laws about how companies use customer information are changing. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, you can incur some pretty hefty fines. Make sure that you’re always up to date on any new developments and you’re always doing everything by the book.
Employee’s Personal Devices
A lot of employees like to use their own personal computers and tablets to do work on while they’re at home. That’s fine, but you’ve got to be careful with how they use customer data on their own devices. They may not have as much security as the office computers so they’re far more vulnerable to attack. As a general rule, you shouldn’t let them access any personal customer data unless they’re using a computer in the office.
Follow these data handling rules and you can avoid getting tangled up in an expensive scandal.