By Guest Blogger: Ed Correia, Founder of Sagacent Technologies
The majority of us are online regularly and during these interactions, businesses collect vast amounts of data about their clients. Your business gathers multiple pieces of information, such as birthdays, addresses, and purchasing preferences, not to mention credit card and other billing records. Right there, you now have all the information a hacker would need for identity theft. Not only does it cost your clients, but it costs businesses globally around $221 billion a year.
With that in mind, you need to protect your business and clients by securing their data. The reality is that hackers are always looking for new ways to gain access to your database. Considering that, it is vital to manage your records to guard both your clients and your business.
It all begins with how you determine what data to keep and for how long. Let’s discuss practical ways to go about this for the overall well-being of your business.
Data Destruction Policy is Critical
A data destruction strategy that protects your business and clients is relatively easy to implement. Simply put, you are instituting a policy that defines how long data should be kept, when it should be eliminated based on the last time it was accessed, and who oversees completing that process.
A policy also needs to be in place to ensure that old equipment is wiped clean of its data before the equipment is trashed or recycled.
Another aspect of data destruction is addressing sensitive paper documents. While hackers might seem to be threatening your online database, others want to dig through the trash to find the information they need to steal identities. Your business will benefit from a shredding policy in addition to procedures meant to keep sensitive documents secure.
Decide What You Need to Store
As a business, it can be easy to focus on gathering as much information as possible about your target market. Nevertheless, how much of that information is relevant to your business? Many potential threats can be eliminated simply by limiting what you choose to keep. Your business can give criminals less to work with by setting specific data collection parameters that get what you need and leaves the rest behind.
Collecting sensitive customer information needs to be handled with the utmost of care. Look into customer relationship software (CRM) as a way to safely manage all data that needs to be collected.
Data Protection Through Passwords and Encryption
In the IT world, security is key. Part of securing your company’s information starts with creating levels of data access. The more sensitive data needs to be password protected and specific password parameters can be set. Two-step authentication can also be used to make access to data harder for unauthorized personnel.
Another critical step in securing your data is encryption, which takes your data and transforms it by creating indecipherable ciphertext through an algorithm. Using this process can make it harder for identity thieves to access sensitive information about your clients, even if they gain access to your database.
Prevent Identity Theft as Part of Your Cybersecurity Plan
When you take the time to protect your data from identity theft, you are also making your system more secure against hackers and other cyber threats. Building a software and network security system can also be useful to prevent identity theft.
Working with a Unified Management System, you can create a security process that allows you to keep your system up to date while protecting against identity theft. It combines all the basic IT security measures into one single device, giving you the ability to easily managed in a centralized location.
By instituting the procedures that we have discussed above, you will be on your way to securing valuable data and effectively stopping cybercriminals in their tracks.
About Ed Correia
Ed Correia is the Founder and President of Sagacent Technologies. He has extensive experience in best-of-class technology solution design, deployment, and management in small and mid-sized business environments. Check out his weekly blog for a wide range of topical articles on cybersecurity and managed IT services, helping you stay in the loop of this ever-changing industry.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.