Security breaches of confidential data capture the global news headlines on a daily basis. Identity theft has become so commonplace that credit card companies and banks market their protection efforts as free services to their customers. The IRS is at risk too, with impersonators using the fear and authority of the government to prey on victims. It's a scary world out there with the amount of personal data available to criminals looking to take advantage. The world might be scary closer to home too. Have you considered how much personal customer data your business handles? Are you confident in the security measures you have in place?
If you're just beginning a data security review of your company, start by understanding how you may be unintentionally exposing customer data. Then protect yourself by implementing security procedures. Here are questions to consider.
- Where do you access company email? At the airport, on your phone, or via the free internet at the local café? Make sure your phone and your internet connection are both secure.
- Have you taken a work file home with you? Was the file a printed hardcopy, on a USB drive, or did you send it to a personal email account? Don't make data theft easy for the bad guys.
- Do you upload data to a free cloud storage account? Know your vendors and their security procedures.
- Are all of your passwords unique or do you duplicate the same password on multiple accounts? Use a password locker.
- Do you secure your hardcopy data? Printouts can also be a vulnerable access point for identity theft. Best practices include strong procedures for document destruction, retention, and physical security.No matter the type of business you operate, acting wisely to protect sensitive data is an essential part of customer care. Don't let your company become the next headline.