10 Effective Measures To Protect Your Customer Data

10 Effective Measures To Protect Your Customer Data

A business needs to know customers well enough to align their products and marketing policies according to their preferences. Collection of customer data has, therefore, become one of the key business processes. The advent of the internet has disrupted data collection techniques in the present times. The traditional methods such as market surveys and telephonic surveys have now been replaced by collection of information through the online channels. It can come in the form of the personal information shared by users while registering with business websites. On the other hand, data can be collected without the user even knowing, with websites and mobile apps tracking their online activities and getting information related to the user demographics and browsing preferences. Yet another way to collect financial details of the users is during the e-commerce shopping transaction.

Whichever way the data is collected, it has to be kept secure by the businesses because the trust and reputation of the business is at stake. Data security has become even more critical after the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union on 25th May, 2018. The regulation enforces compliance on all the businesses that collect, handle and process personal information of the residents of the European Union. It states that the personally identifiable information of thee users cannot be collected or used by the business unless they have an explicit permission from the user. At the same time, businesses need to take adequate measures to keep the data secure at all stages. GDPR or no GDPR, protection of customer data should be a primary concern for any business. If you are looking to Protect Your Data, here are some reliable measures that you can take:

  1. Start by having an effective protection for network, systems and emails so that malware of suspicious files are not able to make their way into the business infrastructure and reach the customer data via any possible route.

  2. Secure the confidential information of the customers while it is stored or transmitted. This can be done by implementing strong cryptography while following the best practices for data encryption.

  3. Get regular security updates and patch installation for the data storage system and software applications. A patch assessment tool can be installed to help you identify whether the operating system and business applications are running the secure and updated versions.

  4. Have a proper device control strategy in place so that you can easily identify as well as control the use of removable storage devices within the organization. This becomes even more important if you have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for the employees.

  5. Also, implement a data access policy that limits the access to the key information of customers and business for only a few, trusted staffers. Insist on the use of secure passwords and foolproof user authentication. Take the access back from the employees who leave the organization and change the passwords afterwards.

  6. Make the employees aware of suspicious emails so that they are vigilant while dealing with them. Tell them not to open the ones that contain doubtful attachments and also report any unusual emails to the security team.

  7. For businesses that embrace the cloud, it is essential to ensure that they partner with a reliable hosting partner. The data stored in the cloud should be properly encrypted so that it remains secure at all points in time.

  8. The critical data, such as that related to the personal and financial details of the customers, should be isolated using effective measures such as firewall protection and limited access.

  9. Use application control for tracking and restricting any unnecessary software which endangers the security of mission-critical business and customer data while not serving any benefits to the business.

  10. Have an expert in-house IT security team to safeguard the data, applications and infrastructure of the business. The other option is to outsource cybersecurity services from a reputed provider.

While business should do their own bit to safeguard the personal information of the users, customers also need to play their role in ensuring the same. They should avoid registering with their personal and financial details with every second site and register only with the ones that they trust completely. Another effective measure is to choose a strong password, with complex combinations of alphabets, numbers and special characters, so that no one is able to break through them. Together, businesses and their customers can ensure that the security of the user information is never at risk.

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