customer data

5 Ways to Avoid Customer Data Theft

Data breaches continue to climb as thieves and hackers get better at breaking into secure networks. In 2017 alone, a record 179 million records were exposed. It’s enough to make any consumer – and business – nervous. What can be done about the onslaught on your company’s secure information?

First things first – you need to prioritize your security. Do you think your company is doing everything in its power to protect its valuable data? Don’t panic – you don’t have to be an IT genius to protect your system. With these next five tips and tricks, we’ll show you how to make sure your customer data stays safe.

1. Keep Up With Encryption

Hacking is the most common way companies’ data gets stolen. The majority of all data breaches is usually from hacking. There’s one great way to prevent hackers from getting in: encryption. While it’s easy enough to install, you will lose out if you have a “set it and forget it” attitude.

Encryption is always changing. Make sure your systems are up to date at all times to prevent the latest methods of attack from stealing your data.

2. Ensure Proper Disposal of Important Customer Data

We have a tendency to want to stockpile info to save “just in case”. Then we hoard that info and eventually forget about it. The solution? Get rid of it – the right way.

First, make sure you really can get rid of the data. Then look into programs that can completely scrub computers free of any trace of it. If you have old computers that you’re getting rid of or are upgrading hardrives, don’t just scrub the data. Hackers can still retrieve information from scrubbed hard drives. Instead, destroy the hard drives to be sure that your customer’s information can not be retrieved.

Got a lot of paper records? Consider using a shredding service.

3. Lock Down Your Network

Are you transmitting customer data over unsafe channels? If so, anyone can intercept the information.

Here’s what to do:

  • Secure and encrypt your WiFi
  • Make sure you have a strong firewall in place
  • Only allow remote access through a vetted Virtual Private Network (VPN)

4. Use Strong Passwords

Too many people rely on ridiculous passwords like “password123” or the name of a beloved pet. These are too easy to guess and opens your network up to hackers who liked your dog’s photo on Instagram.

Two things you can do to protect your password is to use a random password generator and change the password often. Password generators come up with difficult passwords. Think about getting a secure program to remember them for you.

5. Train Your Employees

Make sure your employees know how and why you’re practicing data safety.

Have them update their passwords frequently. Make sure they understand they can’t leave laptops unattended in coffee shops if there’s sensitive information on them. Always use a secure WiFi connection.

Everyone might have to jump through a few hoops at first but it’s worth it to keep your information safe.

Keep Your Data Safe

These five tips will get you started on the road to data security. Customer data is important; you don’t want to lose your customer’s trust and with it, your business.

If you need help managing your records and documents, we’re here for you. We can help manage, store, and shred any sensitive data you have. Contact us today and let us help keep your customer information safe!