If you need even more of a reason to work extra hard to protect your client’s personal information, check this out: It’s actually the law.
Fear not — in this article we’re going to take a look at 7 tips to protect your client’s personal information online so that their trust and confidence in you goes off the scale.
Add Layers of Protection to Your Business Computers and Servers
When it comes to protecting your client data online, you can never have too much protection.
And, according to the World Economic Forum:
Privacy concerns are rising around the world, people are more worried about privacy”
Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad boy hackers who are looking for easy targets online.
If you add numerous layers of security software — such as anti-virus software and firewalls — to your businesses computers and servers, you’ll make it very difficult for even the smartest rogue black hat expert to hack your system.
If someone is going to get hacked, make sure it isn’t you. Layer up.
Gain a clear understanding of Cloud Computing
“Extra-sensitive information” should not be synced to the cloud. Why? Because while the cloud is a convenient place to store and share information, it isn’t super secure. Well, not yet.
In fact, only 10% of the world’s data is currently stored in the cloud, primarily because businesses don’t trust it enough. There are some, shall we say, holes in the model.
According to Jay Heiser, vice president and cloud security lead at Gartner, Inc.:
“The volume of public cloud utilization is growing rapidly, so that inevitably leads to a greater body of sensitive stuff that is potentially at risk”
To learn more, read this article which breaks down some of the top security threats by csoonline.com.
When you do decide to store data in the cloud, make sure you pick a top quality, reputable cloud provider who lets you handle your own encryption keys should you want to.
Lock Up Your Hardware
There are numerous preventative measures you can take to keep shady hackers from grabbing your hardware. And if you think hackers only exploit you digitally, think again.
To prevent a hacker from physically stealing your hardware before exposing your client’s personal information online, lock it all up.
Alternatively, you could chain it all in place.
Offices get broken into, so it’s important that you take the right measures that will deter hackers from breaking into yours and stealing your laptops, tablets and so on.
Make Sure Ex-Employees Can’t Access Client Data
Whenever someone leaves your company, what do you do? Do you change passwords? Or do you think “heck, she’ll never steal my client’s data, she loved working here!”
It might sound cynical — but trust no one.
We’ve all heard cases of disgruntled ex-employees returning to wreak revenge on their former company. Sometimes, ex-employees are so fueled by a burning sense of victimization that they take extreme lengths to exert revenge.
Whenever someone leaves your company, change passwords and make them as strong as possible. Don’t give them the opportunity to steal your client’s personal information. It just isn’t worth the risk.
Choose the Right Web Host
Which web host you choose can make or break your security efforts. There are literally hundreds of them out there, so you need to make sure that you choose one that values your security, and which takes your business seriously.
Here are a few different types of web hosts:
- Shared hosting — Shared hosting can be a bit risky because it means that you might be using the same server as many other websites, which leaves you open to what are known as cross-site server attacks. This is when a hacker accesses a website in order to attack other websites that are on the same server.
- Virtual private server — A virtual private server creates a wall between your website and the other sites that are sharing the server. It’s a bit more expensive than shared hosting, but it’s certainly safer.
- Private server — Private servers are even more expensive than virtual private servers. Your website and all your client’s personal information is maintained on its own server, separate from any other websites. This is the safest and most secure type of server.
Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade
Have you ever noticed that anti-virus software likes to update fairly regularly?
If you’re one of those who can lose patience with the constant upgrades and chooses to upgrade some other time, you’re in danger of putting everything at risk.
Upgrades are there for a reason — to keep the software up-to-date with the latest, most sophisticated methods of attack used by skillful hackers.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your anti-virus software was when you first bought it unless you update it frequently it will lose its ability to safeguard you from attack.
Hackers change their methods all the time. To be on the safe side, upgrade as often as possible!
Work With a Pro
If in doubt, always work with a professional who knows what they’re doing.
When it comes to the security of your client’s personal information, you can’t take any risks.
If you’re super concerned that the measures you’ve put in place still aren’t enough, call in an IT security expert to look things over.
Professional security experts are up to date with the latest methods used by crackers and hackers. They know how to deflect attacks, and they know what your systems need.
If you’re losing sleep over this one, get in touch with someone who knows what they’re doing. The long-term health of your business could hinge on it.
These are 7 ways to protect your client’s personal information online. Implement them and you’ll have a lot more peace of mind.
Your client’s personal information will be a lot more secure, and you’ll be free to focus on growing and scaling your business.
Kas Szatylowicz is a social media manager and outreach coordinator at Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog and connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter: @KasSzatylowicz
And Audrey DeSisto
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