Today’s customers are concerned about the security of their data because of phishing emails and the rise of identity theft. These online threats are affecting small-business owners too. Companies must maintain reasonable procedures to protect sensitive information.
Whether your security practices are reasonable will depend on the nature and size of your business, the types of information you have, the security tools available to you based on your resources, and the risks you are likely to face.
15 Proactive ways to secure customer data
- Review and follow the laws governing data security
· Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act)
· Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
· Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
· FTC Disposal Rule
· Other federal laws (HIPAA, DPPA, FERPA)
· State laws
- Know what you have and who has access to it
Check files and computers for what information you have; and where it’s stored. Don’t forget portable devices and offsite locations.
- Keep only what you need for to streamline storage
Collect only what you need and keep it only for the time you need it. Scale down what you store on devices connected to the Internet.
- Partner with OnGuard Online
The federal government and the technology industry have teamed up to prepare materials that can help guard against Internet fraud, secure computers, and protect personal information.
- Protect your computer by installing a firewall
Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send out personal information without your permission.
- Properly dispose of what you no longer need
Make sure papers containing personal information are shredded. Be sure to use commercial shredding companies for large volumes of paper.
- Properly erase data you no longer need
Use disk wipe software to clean, delete and erase data, files or programs on computers and portable storage devices.
- Guard your laptop
There are a number of vendors that offer stealthy software solutions that enable your laptop to check in to a tracking center periodically using a traceable signal.
- Protect, audit and certify the security of your website
The ScanAlert product sweeps your website for potential security flaws, and then posts a “Hacker Safe” security logo if the site comes up clean.
- Verify information handling practices
If you give another organization access to your records or computer network, you should make sure they have good security programs too.
- Use Qualys free tool to check your systems
Qualys’ free SANS Top 20 Scan detects the 20 most dangerous vulnerabilities, provides a detailed report with information for each vulnerability and links to verified fixes.
- Automate the process of updating security software
Use automation to make sure systems maintain their secure configuration, remain fully patched with the latest version of the software (including keeping anti-virus software up to date).
- Attend security awareness training
Security awareness training is designed to educate business owners on the appropriate use, responsibilities and ongoing protection of customer data.
- Use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
A SSL certificate ensures that you are communicating with the intended party and not an imposter by authentication and encryption.
- Use off site storage
Your critical information goes to a secure central data storage facility that manages, and protects you customer information, business data, and records.
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