We have all witnessed it, data breaches that have occurred on a massive scale, leaving companies in a compromising and detrimental state. In this digital world, consumer data is one of the most valuable things. This is data that contains personally identifiable information such as full names, email addresses, payment details, mailing addresses, etc. This makes consumer data protection an important element of any entity’s security. After all, the last thing you want is your credit card and home address details in the hands of the wrong people.
As a business or organization, it is important that you stay proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure your users’ private information is protected. But how do you ensure that? This article will discuss a few expert tips so let’s delve into it!
Create a Department that Specializes in Data Management
It is important to have a team whose sole purpose is to manage your data. You should have positions like data privacy specialist, chief security officer, and crisis manager run by professionals with experience in the field. This team will protect your company’s sensitive data and curb the effects of a data breach should one occur.
Pro tip- If your company cannot afford a full data team, at least have an individual oversee data regulation. By monitoring security across the company, you can still mitigate a data breach.
Update Your Data Protection Software Regularly
Hackers and other cybercriminals do not rest and are always making malware designed to surpass your current data protection software. Whether it is a malware protection tool or antivirus software, do not overlook those update pop-ups. A good tip is to turn on the automatic update feature so that you don’t need reminders for an important security aspect of your systems. Many modern forward-thinking firms are making use of XDR to protect your business. It could be the solution your organization needs.
Limit Access to Sensitive Data
Not everyone across your company needs to have access to all the data. The more you give access to certain data or systems, the higher the chances of a cyberattack. An expert tip is to create levels or tiers of access based on factors like specific job roles or seniority.
Avoid Collecting More Data than Necessary
The reason why big companies like Facebook, Sony, and TikTok have been victims of data breaches is because they house a lot of data containing personal information. While user data is helpful when it comes to insights on marketing and product improvement, capturing more than you need only makes you a target.
So, first, determine what kind of data you need and be transparent about it with your customers. For example, you do not need a shipping address if your products are delivered electronically.
Create Smart Passwords and Manage them Correctly
Simple and obvious passwords like ‘’password123’’ should never be a thing in your company. Hackers have sophisticated algorithms and computing that do millions of calculations to crack passwords and the simple ones are the first to decipher. So, ensure you make complex passwords using a combination of alphabetic and numeric characters, capitalization, and even symbols. You should also add an extra layer of security such as two-factor authentication (2FA).
A pro tip is to invest in a password management tool to safely store your passwords and make them unreadable in case of an attack.
Encrypt Your Wi-Fi or Use a VPN
This one is a no-brainer especially when it comes to accessing the company’s network. When setting up your Wi-Fi, ensure it has a secure password and create a different network for the guests. When accessing your company’s database using another network, ensure you use a VPN. Also referred to as a virtual private network, a VPN will mask your location and secure your connection. This will make it harder for people to pinpoint your location or gain access to your network.
Do Away with Cross-Company Data Silos
While it is important to segment data access across various departments, it is also vital to ensure there is a clear line of sight regarding which data is being collected, where, and by whom. Data silos result in isolated pockets of data, making it harder to detect or mitigate potential issues.
So, it’s paramount to ensure that all your customer data is stored in a single place, no matter the route or process, or submission. An IT expert should be able to recommend and use robust tools and software to facilitate this process.
Don’t Skimp on Data Security
Even with some form of security measures in place, some companies tend to focus on other areas and spend little effort on data protection. With your customer confidentiality and brand trustworthiness on the line, it would be unwise not to pay more attention to data security. Create stringent security measures and standards in your company and enforce them. This includes ensuring new employees are aligned with the organization’s data privacy values before they begin work.
It is also a good idea to give your current workforce additional IT and data security training and also resources to help them comprehend their role in protecting customers’ data.
Lastly, you should be transparent and honest if a data breach occurs. Many companies try to hide when an attack occurs, only for it to ruin their reputation and suffer hefty fines as a result. Manage your reputation by being transparent like this. So, ensure you communicate with your employees, board members, partners, and customers.