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Keeping your customer’s information safe is absolutely crucial. If anything happens to your customer’s information while in your hands, you’ll develop a terrible reputation, lose custom, and you could even get into trouble with the law. The law requires you to deal with sensitive customer data carefully, so if you don’t do this, it could be the end of your business.
Here’s some information to get you started on keeping your customer’s information safe.
Create A Written Plan
First off, create a written plan on the information that you need to protect. Include where the information is and how you’re going to protect it. In some states this isn’t a legal requirement, but in some, it is. A business cannot say that they are using reasonable procedures to safeguard sensitive customer information if they do not have the procedures written down.
This written plan will tell employees what they’re supposed to do. It’s also good business practice. It’s so much better to have a written plan in place than to try to react to an emergency or crisis.
To help you to create your written plan, you may want to get professionals in to perform audits and assessments to give you an even better idea of what needs to change. You might decide you need a SOC Readiness Assessment after speaking to a pro, for example – your customers and partners will ask for evidence of one of these sometimes, but it all depends on your business.
Control Access To Paper Documents
There will be documents in your workplace that don’t need to be accessible to everybody, so having unlocked filing cabinets just doesn’t make sense. Controlling access to records is important, whatever the information may be. This level of control might be as simple as ensuring your filing cabinets are locked. It isn’t just in your best interests to keep this information under wraps. If a competitor managed to get a hold of a simple list of your customers, what could they do with it?
Secure Your Online Records
Securing online records is essential if you have customers ordering from you online. You want to make sure that customers’ credit card numbers, addresses, and other sensitive details are protected.
Back Up Your Records
If you’re using a cloud service online to back up your records, you must make sure you check the level of security first. The number of backup solutions that incorporate some level of encryption and security has grown, allowing you to automate the process of backing up data. If a company doesn’t mention much about security, it’s unlikely they are equipped to keep your information safe.
Create A Breach Response Template
Breaches happen whether you run a large or small business. However, how you handle the breach will determine how your customers respond to you. Make sure you have a template ready for how you handle these situations, as it’s all too easy to make mistakes and panic in the event of an emergency.
A good plan will include how you plan to notify your clients (including a form email or call script if necessary), followed by what you might do in response of the breach, and maybe even how you’ll create an incentive to ensure customers stay with you.