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Data breaches don’t just happen to small and medium sized businesses. There have been a number of high-profile security breaches over the years, including those against Estee Lauder, Microsoft, and MGM Resorts.
Clients are increasingly concerned about privacy of data – and whether the companies they approach take appropriate measures to protect their information.
This poses something of a conundrum for marketers, who rely heavily on client data and analytics to predict their wants. Hence, a trade-off must take place: in exchange for client data, companies need to provide both better data security measures and a transparent data gathering procedure.
Here are steps your company can take towards data loss prevention and fostering trust with your clients.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Data Loss Prevention
Cybercrime is big business – and it’s only getting bigger. In 2021, cybercriminals raked in 6.9 billion USD. The methods for making such money rely on data: stealing it and reselling it, or holding it for ransom. Cybercriminals do this by hacking systems.
Considering all this, protecting your customers’ data is more important – and difficult – than ever. The smallest pieces of data, including email addresses, must remain secured. Every bit of information that your customer provides you might be valuable to a cybercriminal.
According to Parks Associates, 79% of consumers are concerned about data privacy and security problems. Furthermore, recent laws such as the CCPA and GDPR show that consumers do not trust companies to secure their data and want to be in control of it.
Hence, it is in the best interests of your company to not just establish data security practices, but continually re-evaluate and update them.
Steps to Ensure Data Loss Prevention
1. Monitor Customer Data
Privacy of data begins with monitoring customer’s data so you can be aware of any potential threats. You must know where all the data is stored and what it includes. This way, you can stay ahead of any potential security breaches.
2. Update Your Security Plans
It’s not enough to make a cybersecurity plan and then let it gather dust.
Technology and hackers are constantly changing and evolving, and your cybersecurity plan needs to keep up.
Always keep your devices and software updated to the most current versions.
Regularly evaluate and re-evaluate your approach to cybersecurity.
Always be on the lookout for potential future threats and loopholes while making changes.
3. Comply With Regulations
For data loss prevention, your data security plan should always comply with the most current regulations.
Pay special attention to new consumer privacy acts. Widespread acts such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could become more prevalent in future. Your company needs to be prepared for this.
Complying with regulations doesn’t just help ensure customer data security. It also helps you avoid hefty fines and lawsuits, and tells your customers that you care about their privacy and are willing to make the effort to remain updated on the matter.
4. Be Transparent About Data Security
Customers want to be as in control of their data as possible. They want to know how their information is being collected, protected and utilized.
To gain their trust, you need to be transparent about your cybersecurity measures and data collection methods. Develop a plan for transparency, which will include giving customers choices to opt out of data collection and regularly updating them about their data security.
5. Regularly Test Your Security
Do you know what you would do if you were facing a data breach? How would you minimize the damage and cut short the problem?
You need to develop a plan to test your cybersecurity system regularly. This way, you will be able to highlight loopholes, weaknesses and issues. This will let you make the appropriate changes to minimize the chances of security breaches.
Consider spot checks of different programs, or even mock cyber-attacks to evaluate how your company responds.
6. Minimum Access
Have you heard of the “principle of least privilege”? It means giving workers the bare minimum levels of privilege (that is, access) so they can efficiently do their job.
This has several advantages. If the employee’s credentials are compromised, cybercriminals will only be able to access that particular employee’s privileges. Furthermore, if an employee has malicious intent, they will be unable to access information or systems outside of what their job requires.
7. Educate Your Employees
Consider educating your employees on how to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats and breaches.
As a simple example, employees should know how to identify phishing scams. These are fraudulent emails that seem as if they are from a legitimate and reputable source. Typically, phishing emails will attempt to trick users into clicking a link, which will allow the scammers to steal sensitive data such as credit card information or passwords.
Employees should know the company protocols for reporting such scams to the IT department or relevant person.
Last but not least, employees should be taught how to update their OS and tools to keep both their and their customers’ data safe. Remember, cybercriminals are excellent at identifying software vulnerabilities.
8. Minimize Data Collection
This last one can be seen as a little controversial, especially to marketers. However, the more data you collect, the more data you are responsible for. And data loss prevention becomes that much harder.
Hence, if you do not require certain data, it may be prudent to not store it.
From social security data to credit card information, your clients trust you with their most sensitive data. It is your responsibility to not break that trust. Take proper steps to minimize the chances of a data breach.
If you have not yet evaluated your data security practices, or it has been a while since you have done so, the steps outlined in this article will give you a solid bedrock to start.
One of the keys to maintaining proper records for security is daily reconciliation. Accountants everywhere groan at the idea of it, but you can spare your accounting department with NextGen Accounting’s reconciliation services.
We offer credit card reconciliation services and bank reconciliation services, conducted with our patented reconciliation automation software CrushErrors. However, if you’d rather have more control over your reconciliation, you can obtain CrushErrors as a product.
Our management team has decades of experience and includes former executives of Barclays Bank, Bank of America, and ICBC. Contact us today for reconciliation services or book a free demo if you’d like to get CrushErrors as a product!