If your new startup is already starting to deal with customer data, you need to be very careful with how you proceed. Once you start storing confidential information, it’s up to you to keep it safe. You can’t afford to have a data breach. They’re giving you that private info with the expectation that you’ll keep it under wraps. If you can’t do that, you could find yourself in a very serious situation that can threaten the future of your company.
But don’t worry! Every business that deals with confidential data has to go through this. As long as you prepare in the right way, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. And guess what? We’re going to help you.
Make Sure Your Computer Systems Are Up To Scratch
This is where it all starts, and you must make sure your systems are up to date before accepting any information. This means protecting with a reputable antivirus and firewall service in the first instance. Make sure your systems are not already infected with any viruses that could do some potential damage. From now on, you need to be running an operation that is free from any threats.
Have An Expert On-Call At All Times
Unless you’re an IT expert who knows everything to do with data privacy, you need someone on-call. You just never know when something might go severely wrong. You better believe that if you suspect a data breach, you’ll need someone working on it immediately.
It’s also important to allow them a routine check of your systems on a monthly basis. What if one of your employees has downloaded a lethal virus without you knowing? The experts will be able to inform you of this.
Think About Encryption
Some businesses see encryption as a step too far. We don’t. You can never be too protected, and that’s why encrypting your most valuable information is of paramount importance. Some hackers know how to get around simple levels of encryption, but even that is still a better choice than none at all. Ultimately, it’s best to seek out the latest encryption technologies in order to give your company a better chance of avoiding a breach.
What About A Virtual Data Room?
Many businesses that deal with particularly sensitive information look to store that data in a cloud system of some sort. A virtual data room is arguably your best bet to ensure that data remains safe.
Here’s the thing: public cloud storage isn’t all that protected. You need something that offers a great deal more security, and that’s what a virtual data room can do. Find the perfect provider and pay particular attention to the levels of security they offer.
Only Store What You Need
Sure, it’s tempting to get every detail you can from a customer when you need to process a contract or something. At the end of the day, you don’t want them to walk away and find out you forgot to ask for certain details. But, once you’ve got what you need, you need to make sure you get rid of everything else.
Hire Someone To Test Your Weaknesses
Do you think this sounds absurd? I promise you; it’s not. The whole concept is that you don’t want to find out that your business’ security is poor after it’s too late. You can’t exactly get someone to come and steal from your physical store, but there are more possibilities in the digital space.
Here, you can get hackers to actually try and get access to your confidential information. They’ll tell you exactly how much they can get, and why they’re able to get to it. It’s the best way of determining what needs to be done in terms of bolstering your security methods.
Shred Physical Documents Immediately
I hate to sound all obvious and everything, but this point is crucial to note. There’s no need to keep both physical and digital copies of sensitive information. You’re just increasing the risk of that data ending up in the wrong hands. It’s an either-or situation.
If you’re going to keep in digital format (and I suggest you do), you need to shred physical documents immediately. Don’t keep them lying around in a back office somewhere. “But it’s convenient,” you may say. It might be, but it’s easier to call a customer and ask for their cooperation once more than to tell them their data has been lost.
Train Your Employees Efficiently
We can’t finish this article without mentioning this. All that good work you do to protect your business can be undone in a matter of minutes. How? Your employee, who doesn’t know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard. They might just click on the wrong thing, exposing your systems to a wave of viruses.
It’s crucial that you give your employees the necessary training to protect both the company and its customers. If they aren’t capable of using a computer correctly, they shouldn’t be going near any sensitive digital data.
It’s imperative to keep the sensitive data of your customers secure. That way, you can continue to operate as a profitable and secure business.