Data theft has become a growing risk for companies, and with its rapid increase of over 650% year over year, information security has become top-of-mind for businesses. Security vulnerabilities and exposure cost organizations more now than it did even five years ago. The average cost of a data breach just last year was a whopping $3.86 million, and the price tag of data breaches has been rising steadily over the past five years. Consumers are becoming more and more concerned about protecting their data, and ensuring that your company’s data protection policies are on display will help customers feel safe in working with your business. Listed below are four methods that will help you to brand your company as a data secure operation.
Understand Your Data
Keeping data safe first requires every organization to understand the data they have in their possession and then forecast what the damage would be to customers if this information fell into the wrong hands. Once you know the type of data that’s in your possession, the next step is to figure out who inside your organization has access and manage internal permissions appropriately. This type of internal discovery can help data security leaders craft risk assessment models and conduct data penetration testing that will help companies mitigate risks. Businesses should also be careful to only collect/store customer data that is needed.
Keep Your Employee-Customer Communication Methods Secure
Keeping customers updated on your policies and being transparent about what type of data is collected and how it’s stored will provide them with the assurance they need to allow your company to handle their data in a secure manner. Using safe communication tools such as encrypted online faxing and two-factor authentication can go a long way toward establishing consumer trust.
Create Data Breach Processes
Guarding data is not only about making sure that firewalls secure your data perimeter. An onion model made up of layers of monitoring and management is the best way to safeguard against risk. If your data is breached, it’s critical that a crisis communications plan is already in place and can be acted upon quickly. This will help to prevent customer attrition, negative press, and even future legalities if parties are notified as soon as possible. The onion model also helps in locating breaches faster because of the more widespread monitoring that is implemented system-wide.
Make Security a Priority
Training teams to successfully protect customer data is a powerful standard against information theft and helps to protect businesses from liability. It’s critical that all team members know how to respond to incidents and how data leaks can occur unintentionally. Knowledge is power when it comes to learning how to protect hardware (laptops, USB drives, files, servers, smartphones) and make sure that physical spaces that house data are secure. On the digital side, knowing how to identify phishing scams and other digital vulnerabilities will help to keep the entire company and its customers safe.
Americans Feel That Their Data is Vulnerable
The Pew Research Center has collected data regarding how Americans, in particular, are feeling that they are losing control of their personal data. About half of all Americans feel that they have no control over entities accessing their online search information, and the majority of Americans think that they have no control over their data being collected by companies. In the future, companies will have to work harder to demonstrate that they are committed to keeping customer data safe. Providing customers with information about how their data is being used and extra security options will become an essential part of the customer engagement lifecycle in the modern digital age where consumers are demanding more and more personal data transparency.
Abigail Baker is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Faxage, an encrypted online faxing service.