How Businesses Can Protect Online Customer Data

It seems like there are always new stories about how customer data that was stored online was compromised by hackers. As a result, both the customers who had their data hacked and potential customers became suspicious of the company and were not confident that they would be using the services. That led to lost revenue and could even wind up with the company eventually closing its doors.

How can they protect the data? They could have their employees use multi-factor authentication to log into their own machines, but there are other steps they can take. Here are some of them:

Restrict The Amount of Information Collected

When a customer logs into a company site for the first time, they usually have a bunch of different fields to fill out. How many of those fields are unnecessary? Some of them could lead to identity theft. The companies asking for this data should only ask for very basic things that could still help them understand their demographics. The customers will also be happy that they have fewer things to fill out.

Restrict The Number of People Who Have Access to the Data

This isn’t to say that there are a lot of dishonest employees, but the more people that can access the data, the greater the risk of a vulnerability being exploited somehow. There should only be a few people who can get to it, and they should be fully verified. It’s not foolproof, but it would also help pinpoint who was responsible for the hacker slipping through.

Have Employees Use Password Management Tools

The days of writing passwords down on a sticky note are over. There are now very sophisticated password management tools that can help employees create passwords that would take hackers centuries to try to brute force. It can also save the passwords so that the employees don’t have to remember something that is a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters along with numbers. It will allow the employees to do their jobs and protect the customers’ data.

Don’t Create Data Silos

What this means is that you don’t want to have the same information in different areas. That can lead to vulnerabilities since people might forget that the data was stored in one specific area and then that could be found later by not-so-savory people.

Instead, use data management tools to know where everything is stored. This will help you eliminate any data silos and keep everything in a single place where you know everything is.

Monitor Your Vendors and Third-Party Partners

Think of how your friends and co-workers can affect your reputation if they act up in front of important people. The same can be said of third-party vendors and partners. While they may be the ones who slip up and let information be hacked, it’s you who is going to take the brunt of the blame. So, be sure to vet their tools and apps to make sure that they are reliable at protecting data. That means ensuring that they follow security regulations.

Conduct Security Audits

One of the few ways to know that you’re doing the correct things is to test those methods. Also, it’s a perfect way to find out about new threats that are hitting the scene. Hackers are always working to get past the security that you have in place, so staying static is a bad idea. Always consider ways to innovate and improve your security. That means seeing what kinds of new apps and software are being released. It’s always important to stay at least one step ahead, and that way to know what vulnerabilities you have and patch those up.

Have Regular Employee Training

It can be easy for employees to get lulled into a false sense of security, especially if they do the same thing over and over. That can make them open to making security mistakes. By training them, you can ensure that they will continue to be focused on keeping customer data safe and away from hackers.

These are just some of the things that you can do to ensure that your company protects your customers’ online data. That will in turn give those customers confidence to keep returning to your business. Then you can keep being successful. This investment in vigilance is well worth it.