How Small Businesses Can Protect Customer Data

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We have all seen the headlines about the rise in cyberattacks and what they are costing small businesses around the world. If you own and run a small business, you can be sure that cybercriminals are probably going to come for your data. This is why protecting any data that you collect, especially customer information, is such a vital step in protecting your business from cyberattacks and reducing your risk. Not only could a customer information leak cost your business in terms of money, but it could also cost you your reputation and customer relationships. So, what strategies should you put in place?

Outsourcing

Many small businesses simply don’t have the budget to hire an in-house team of cybersecurity and IT experts, which is where their defenses fall short compared to larger companies. Hackers know this, which is why small companies have become an increasingly bigger target for cybercriminals over time. Outsourcing your cybersecurity needs to a professional managed IT services company like Cutting Edge Network Technologies will enable you to get the support that your business needs in a more cost-effective manner. 

Stay Up to Date with Encryption

The technologies and processes for encrypting data are quickly evolving, and it’s important for companies to keep up with this constant advancement and growth. This is because cybercriminals are also evolving and finding new ways around yesterday’s techniques, which may no longer be as useful as they once were for protecting data. Outdated encryption is as useful as no encryption at all in some cases, which is why staying up to date is vital. 

Only Collect What’s Necessary

Collecting customer data that your business does not actually need will not only waste resources and energy, but will also put your company in a riskier position when it comes to cybersecurity. The more data you have, the bigger of a target your business will be – so keep it simple and only ask your customers to provide you with the data that is essential to provide them with the service or product. 

Limit Access to Data

Not everybody in the business will need to see the personal information that you have collected on your customers. The fewer employees that are given access to customer data, the fewer opportunities there will be for hackers to strike. Bear in mind that access to customer data isn’t always gained by hackers through coding and hacking into systems like you see on TV. In many cases, it’s simple social engineering techniques that might fool an employee into handing over their password. 

Get Everybody Involved

Finally, everybody in the company should make sure that customer privacy and data protection is their business. When every employee is working together to ensure that the company is well-defended against hackers, and that weak points are noticed and put right immediately, the risk of an attack will drop. A well-educated workforce and strong cybersecurity policies in place are some of the best options for protecting the data that you collect and hold on your customers. 

Customer data is often the number one thing that cybercriminals are looking for. Protecting the data your business collects has never been as important as it is today.