We recently conducted a study which highlights how UK businesses manage (or mismanage) customer data. It uncovered while many organisations are aware of the value of their data many are failing to keep it secure.
43% of businesses surveyed stated they were using a dedicated CRM. However, of the remaining, 20% use an Excel spreadsheet, 5% keep paper records and 11% store records in their email client. Of course specialist software, such as a CRM solution is the best option, but other means of data storage are a cause for concern, particularly with EUGDPR being enforced in 2018 and the rise in cybercrime.
At a time when 70% of people are concerned about online hacking, if businesses want to ensure they are able to gather customer data effectively, then they need to be able to reassure customers that their data will be stored securely. Therefore, it’s important that businesses are taking the necessary steps to protect data from online threats and adhering to the government guidelines.
To ensure that your business is operating high-quality data practices, here’s how to secure your data.
Understand data movements
To gain a view of which data could be at risk, you should begin by assessing how data flows throughout your organisation. This will enable you to establish which safeguards you need to implement, and highlight were security is currently lax.
For example, do employees currently have offline access to data and is that necessary? And, if you have a bring your own device policy, are staff aware they could be risking business and customer data? Through understanding such elements, you can begin to implement a data security strategy.
Question sharing everything
Collaboration is key to productivity, yet it’s important you don’t compromise on security when sharing information amongst team members.
Question whether all employees need access to all customer details you have on file, or if data should be restricted for any reason. Is there any legal reason data shouldn’t be shared with everyone? Is the data relevant to that employee or team? Is there a privacy concern regarding the data you hold? Do the tools you use offer appropriate security measures? Can you edit data access through creating security roles, which determine what the user is able to see?
It is also important to consider what happens to access when an employee is working away from the office, or when someone leaves the organisation. What restrictions are in place to prevent data breaches?
Unless everyone knows the risks, you can’t expect them to take measures to protect data. Ensure employees are educated on data security and potential through training and regular reinforcement. This will not only help to emphasise the importance of data safety.
Prompt employees to stay on top of security by enforcing password changes at regular intervals, and ensure that you have set complex password requirements. As the gatekeepers to data, it’s imperative you have a top-down approach to security and that all employees are aware of the potential risks a data breach could pose.
Add additional protection
To make certain your systems and the data held in them are secure you should consider encryption. By encrypting your data you can ensure, that even is data is stolen, it’s unreadable to those who don’t have the correct authorisation. And, don’t forget to change your encryption key regularly.
While many people are focused on the data while in use your backups are equally at risk. A clients backup can contain all their company data in one single place, on tape, USB stick or even in a cloud repository. When choosing your backup software, you should ensure it has the option to encrypt your backup data, this way if your backup is stolen it’s useless too.
Data is a business’ most valuable asset, so ensure you are able to safeguard it and reassure your customers their personal data is safe with you.