In the past, the world used to run on oil and gas. Today, it’s all about data. Data drives some of the world’s largest companies, and properly leveraging your customers’ data can often mean the difference between incredible success and crushing failure.
Of course, you end up with more than your fair share of responsibility thanks to this power. As a business, it’s your responsibility to establish a trusting relationship with your customers, and with that in mind, it’s essential to take proper care of their data. Information security can be a complicated field, but with the right small business IT support on your side, it’s possible to protect your clients. Here are five tips to get you started:
Create Impenetrable Passwords
You’ve heard it a thousand times by now: create strong passwords, or your information is at risk. This statement is true for personal use, and it’s just as relevant for your business. Your data might be at risk if you don’t provide it with basic safeguards like solid passwords.
The best passwords feature a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Better yet, try to avoid using words altogether and instead use random strings of letters and symbols.
Invest in Encryption
It’s not enough to hide your data behind passwords. For the best security, you should invest in high-end encryption software. These applications take your data and essentially re-code it into indecipherable strings of random characters that can only be reassembled with your permission. This extra layer of security can make all the difference in the event of a security breach, so it’s a good idea to seek out the latest and most reliable encryption software.
Of course, even if you’ve already partnered with an encryption provider, make sure to review your service and see if you need to update your security. If you keep the same encryption for too long without updating it, you risk giving hackers time to learn how to breach your defenses.
Use Trustworthy Security Software
Nothing’s worse than clicking on an otherwise innocent link only to discover that it was cleverly disguised malware all along. Using the right security software can help you avoid these situations.
Make sure that your business has a trusted security software plan in place, which should be able to keep you from unintentionally clicking on virus links or encountering other malware. If you already have software in place, don’t forget to update it regularly. Hackers are always trying to find loopholes in security applications, so refresh your software regularly to avoid getting compromised.
Only Keep the Data You Need
You might be tempted to hold onto as much customer data as possible. However, doing so might set you up for an exploitative attack. Even the simplest details like birth dates can be powerful weapons in the hands of devious hackers. If you’re already collecting large quantities of data from your customers, consider using a critical eye to assess what you have and purge anything that isn’t strictly necessary.
Working with data presents many risks, but a few intelligent decisions can protect your business and your customers. Follow these tips to stay on the right track.