Many industries that regularly handle sensitive client information have strict regulations to keep that data secure. Insurance, banking, and medical fields must use specific types of software and programs and aren’t allowed to share information with third parties. This doesn’t mean other industries shouldn’t protect their client’s data, though.
Those industries that sell directly to consumers and therefore receive payment info are wise to use some basic security protocols to protect their customers’ information. You want them to feel safe and secure in your hands, so it’s key to ensure their personal information isn’t stolen or compromised. Here’s how you can do it:
Use Data Protection Software
This might be a firewall, anti-malware or anti-spyware program that you can install on your network to protect your data and IT infrastructure from hackers. It helps you to identify areas where a cybercriminal might enter your network and create patches to keep them out. These programs can even help you keep out certain levels of employees if they don’t have the clearance to interact with sensitive data.
The key to effectively using data protection software is to update it regularly. Updates help your software run at optimal levels so it can always detect threats and protect your system. Just like your tech is always improving, hackers are always finding new ways to sneak in.
Secure Your Site
Google has a great feature that allows people to quickly see if the website they’re on is secure. It’s the little padlock icon to the left of your URL. This icon shows if a website has an active SSL certificate.
What is SSL? It stands for secure sockets layer. Basically, it means the website encrypts data as it receives it so hackers can’t access client information even if they break into your website. It’s an important extra layer of security that many consumers rely on to help them stay safe online.
Encrypt All Data
You can take the basic principles of SSL and apply them to your entire network by encrypting every piece of data you store. This is the easiest way to offer extra security to your clients. There are a couple of different types of encryption you could use:
- Symmetric encryption: In this type of encryption, the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt data. There are many types of encryption that fall under this umbrella term.
- Asymmetric encryption: In this type, users need one key to encrypt data and a second key to decrypt it. Again, there are many types of asymmetric encryption that all offer unique benefits.
Asymmetric encryption is often considered a safer way to encrypt data because it’s more difficult to decode. The right encryption approach will depend on what information you’re storing, how safe it needs to be and the size of your organization.
Use Quality Payment Processing Software
This might seem like it goes without saying, but many businesses underestimate the value of a strong payment service provider. This is your first level of defense against hackers, and if you use quality POS software, there isn’t as much of an opportunity for anyone to steal your customers’ information.
Each physical swipe payment or online card transaction needs to be protected. Customers need and expect for their information to be secure when purchasing from your business. The best POS systems will let you set it and forget it, taking one more thing off your plate while still protecting your business and your customers. Do your research, look up merchant services reviews, and be sure to choose a quality merchant account processing system.
Keeping your clients’ data safe should be on the top of your to-do list as customers trust you to provide quality products and services, including privacy protection.