E-Commerce 101: How To Keep Your Customers’ Data Safe

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In today’s digital age, data security is every business owner’s responsibility. It’s ethical for your company to protect customer information in every way you can. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) set up rules that state what type of information a company can and can’t share with other organizations or entities. However, with the ever-evolving digital landscape, these rules often have loopholes that dishonorable individuals can manipulate.

As a business owner, a lot of sensitive information goes through your system every day. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge on what data governance is and how a data management platform can help your business. Meanwhile, here are some valuable tips on how to manage and keep your customers’ data safe.

1. Lessen vulnerability with dedicated servers

Small- to medium-enterprises generally choose a shared server to host files. It is, after all, much cheaper than buying premium servers. However, this increases the likelihood that your customers’ information would be leaked since multiple people outside your company have access to the system. A dedicated server may initially cost more but it will build your clients’ confidence in you.

2. Add layers of protection to your systems

There’s plenty of wicked people who prey on unsuspecting companies’ security vulnerabilities and pounce when given a chance. You can never be too protected. Add layers upon layers of protection to your servers and systems in the form of:

  • Antivirus Software
  • Firewalls
  • SSH Keys
  • VPNs
  • Private Networking
  • Public Key Infrastructure
  • SSL/TLS Encryption
  • Service Auditing
  • File Auditing
  • Intrusion Detection Systems

Multiple layers of security software will make accessing your client information more complicated and confusing. It will put off hackers who are looking for an easy target and will leave your company alone. If they still persevere, though, they won’t be able to finish hacking your system because your IT department would have already been alerted of the breach.

3. Update yourself on encryption practices

Encryption is a process in computing that transforms readable data into an encoded version. This way, the only one who can decode it would be someone who has the decryption key. While it doesn’t guarantee ultimate security for your data, it does reduce the risk that hackers could easily leak your customers’ information because of how complicated it is.

4. Be transparent with your privacy policy

Your customers ought to be able to trust that you won’t use their data without their knowledge or sell it to other organizations. Be clear in your privacy policy and don’t mislead your clients about how their data will be collected, stored, protected, and used. Mishandling information can negatively affect your brand’s reputation and may even lead to legal issues for your company.

5. Have a risk management plan

Lots of organizations have been scrutinized for the way they handle customer data and data breaches. It has become imperative for companies to have a structured risk management policy. While no one is hoping for data breaches to happen to your organization, it’s prudent to have a step-by-step plan in place to prevent cyber attacks as well as a disaster plan in case it happens.

6. Limit access to sensitive data

Not everyone in the organization should be able to view your clients’ information. If there are fewer people who can access the data, there’s a lesser risk of data leakage. Plus, it would be easier to determine where the breach happened when there are fewer computers involved. If you’re handling your customers’ financial information, only a few employees in the finance department should be able to look at it.

7. Store only necessary info

Recognize the difference between storing and verifying information. As much as possible, you should keep only the most essential data from your customers like their names, addresses, and contact numbers. For credit card details, it’s safer to let secure third-party processors handle them when they buy from your website. This way, you absolve yourself from the enormous risks associated with this financial information.

Conclusion

The trust of your customer is the most critical factor for your business to succeed. People won’t buy your products or avail your services when they see that you’re not reliable. Make data security a priority. It’s a worthwhile investment when word gets around that your company takes their customers’ information seriously.

Brendan learned everything he knows about business by putting some skin in the game and starting his own. Brendan writes often about digital marketing on his blog and on Twitter.