We entrust people every day with our personal information, from shops we frequent, to advertising companies we engage with, and any other company we interact with. Businesses have a legal obligation to protect the rights of the consumer, and ensure their privacy is a priority. A company who has a privacy leak can see a huge loss in sales, and customer trust plummets. In order to be a success, consumer trust has to prevail, and they have to know that their data is safe with you.
Make sure you’re clued up on data protection
The Data Protection Act of 1998 is the best place to start when it comes to understanding your obligation to protect the information your customers entrust you with. However, the speedy advancement of technology has required a few edits along the way. Understanding exactly what your rights are regarding the sale and distribution of data and analytics can help to ensure you don’t put a foot wrong, but it will also mean that you’re able to properly secure the information, and you’re wary of any bugs or malware that could undo your hard work.
Consider how you store paper documents
While most startups are now moving towards mainly paperless transactions, there are a few instances where the physical copy has to play a role in a transaction or an account. When this paper is in your possession containing confidential details regarding your clients, you’re completely responsible for its safekeeping and disposal. For example, just throwing any outdated correspondence in the bin could compromise security and land you in a whole lot of trouble, so document shredding services are a must. The paperwork must be kept in secure and lockable storage. This is also the case for staff contracts. Once you have that information, it’s up to you to take care of it.
Is your online presence secure?
The main threat to data security is now predominantly set around the internet. It’s vital that you ensure your emails are properly encrypted and protected from malware which could compromise your privacy and that of your customer. Ensuring that employees are properly able to spot phishing emails or malware can also go some distance to protecting data.
Criminals want access to the entire system, not just one client’s data, so it’s crucial to ensure that your computer system and any cloud software are adequately protected. Being able to encrypt the data that you store on your computer system and in the cloud should be treated as a matter of priority. Separating your internal computer systems and protecting them individually with good quality firewalls makes a breach of the over-riding system almost impossible from the outside.
A large element of this protection has to come from staff, and not just a reliance on malware protection and anti-spyware. After all, data breaches more often occur as a result of poor staff training than a software problem. Good office practice, and ensuring that staff are trained in data protection should keep you, your employees, and your clients safe.