8 Best Practices For Protecting Confidential Client Information
When running a company, the number one priority is to keep your customers satisfied. There are many things you can do to keep customer satisfaction up, but perhaps the most important thing in the grand scheme of things is to keep your clients information secured. This is particularly important in the age of data privacy and stringent regulations on personal information. According to IBM, the costs associated with a privacy breach went up 2.6% from $4.24 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 2022, and the number is expected to grow higher.
An unprotected company is just one data breach away from potentially having its reputation permanently ruined. To help avoid that, we have prepared some of the best practices to protect your clients’ confidential information.
Table Of Contents
Encrypt User Data
No matter if you operate knowledge base software or any other kind, your clients will likely give you their data at various points in your interaction with them. Whether that be through saving their payment information, their login information, or entering their contact information. All this information should be encrypted, so as to reduce the likelihood that a database breach of your website would put that information at risk. When encrypted, the information becomes significantly more difficult, if not impossible, for the attacker to disseminate.
Secure Physical Copies Of Your Clients Information
If you want to be extra secure with your clients information, there’s no better way to do so than to keep it in an offline location. This can be done through a paper filing system, although you can also secure it on drives that are not connected to the Internet. In doing so, you make it virtually impossible for people who should not have access to see it.
While this is a good way to prevent people from getting access through cybersecurity vulnerabilities, it also serves as a good way to prevent loss of data. Granted, you still have to be mindful of physical risks, such as a fire, but in terms of actually losing the data, filing it away avoids that (usually).
Use Only Secure Platforms for File Sharing
These kind of clients information, if leaked, can be devastating to both you and your clients. Thus, there are some precautions you have to take to avoid that, including using a secure method for file sharing and messaging. Email is not secure enough for either, so look into a solid alternative.
Consider Using a Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) has a number of benefits for its use, some of which help keep you and your company secure from attacks. Another benefit is that it enhances your privacy, including the ability a VPN has to obscure your IP address. This causes attackers to have more difficulty tracking you. It also encrypts the data that you send over the Internet.
Read Up On Relevant Industry Regulations
Either you or the person responsible for securing your clients information need to absorb as much of the relevant industry regulations as possible. It may be a complicated thing to wrap your head around, but when all is said and done, it is well worth it.
There are two organizations whose regulations you need to keep up with:
- SOC 2 (Service Organization Control Type 2)
- S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
There may be regulations from state-level agencies you need to keep in mind as well. If your business operates in multiple states, this can make things very complicated, as you need to make sure that your cybersecurity standards meet each state’s regulations.
Keep Your Staff Well-Trained
It’s not enough that you know how things should be done, it’s also important that your staff is made fully aware of how to do these things. As such, comprehensive training should be done to make sure they understand the above-mentioned regulations, as well as the company’s own rules regarding clients information. It may take only one person to make a mistake to cause the data to become unsecured.
If you want to make sure that your staff is doing their best, however, you should make sure that you are up to date with everything as well. Make sure that you at least have someone in charge of your company’s cybersecurity if you are not already in charge of it yourself.
All too often, a person may wind up falling victim to an attack simply because they fell for a scam. And no matter how smart or perceptive you may be, even the smartest of people can be tricked by a potential hacker. The idea behind this is that people tend to feel like they are too smart to be attacked, and thus do not anticipate such a thing happening.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
If your software is left out of date, this makes it significantly more likely that some bad actor could exploit a vulnerability. Over time, a security flaw may be discovered or developed in certain pieces of software. In this case, you either have to update it or find an alternative if no update is available.
Do vulnerability tests
It’s one thing to plan to have a secure server, it’s an entirely different thing to know it’s secure. And the last thing you want to do is find out how secure it is because an actual bad actor attacked your servers. To do this, you either hire cybersecurity experts or professional, ethical hackers to try to penetrate your servers’ defenses. If they are not able to do so, that says a lot about how well protected your clients information is.
If they are able to get access, however, this suggests that you need to either strengthen whatever you are already doing, or look into a different method of cybersecurity. You may be able to get insight from the person who managed to find the vulnerability or vulnerabilities.
Secure your clients information today
Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated than ever, and thus, you need to be more cautious than ever. Don’t let your business go bottom up by cutting corners on cybersecurity. By following our advice, you decrease the risk that you may become a victim. However, it is not guaranteed to protect you, so always approach your clients information with caution.
My name is Stephen Bowers. An aspiring business writer looking to build up his own website. I could put together a great content series which drives real interest in business.