4 Must-Do’s for Protecting Your Small Business From Data Breaches

Think protecting your customers’ data is too complicated? Well, you may be surprised to know that putting practices into place to protect that private data is far less complicated than attempting to recover from a breach. Security breaches cost small businesses millions each year and even cause some businesses to fail. So how can you make sure your business is not one of them? By putting these best protection practices into place ASAP.

Get Familiar With State and Federal Data Regulations

Keeping your customers’ data secure is definitely good for business. But setting up structured data practices may also help keep your business out of legal trouble. One such example of these kinds of state-level data laws can be found in New York, and applies to specific kinds of businesses. The NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation requires affected financial institutions to address data privacy with proper infrastructure and protection policies. About half of all other states also have some type of consumer protection law in place when it comes to private data. Most of these regulations focus on data protection policies, but many also have restrictions around data breaches and how businesses must respond when trying to recover from a breach. 

Consider Hiring Professionals to Help Manage Your Data

Failing to properly address data security can land your business in big trouble, and ultimately sink your business. That’s why it is so important to take the necessary steps to ensure your customers’ data is secure and invulnerable to online threats. If you don’t know how to enact security measures, you may need to find an IT consultant. An experienced consultant can quickly determine the greatest threats to your business data and technology, and can help develop strategies aimed at preventing costly breaches. If a breach does occur, you will want to hire a digital forensics specialist to determine the source of the issue and help you find a resolution.

Be Prepared for the Financial Costs of a Major Data Breach

By now, you can see how important protecting your customers’ data really is to the stability of your small businesses. Data breaches cost small businesses an average of $148 for each customer record that is exposed. When the damages are added up, most small businesses that suffer a data breach not only suffer a loss in profit, but they usually end up going out of business. Putting guidelines and security initiatives in place can keep your business from suffering this fate. In addition to hiring pros to help, you should look to software that can help, and you will certainly want to train your staff on best practices. Employees can be a weak link when it comes to your data, but training can help prevent many issues. You may also want to research data breach insurance for added financial protection.        

Know How to Handle Customer Service Around Data Privacy

So far, you’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons to avoid having your business impacted by data security issues. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that issues with data privacy and your business can have a major impact on your customers too. When customers provide their private information, they do so with an expectation that you will keep it safe.  Once that trust is broken, it can be tricky to repair. The most important step in gaining back the trust and loyalty of your customers is to remain as transparent as possible. Own up to the breach in question and also own up to any mistakes. Not doing so will only harm the long-term success of your business. Even if you haven’t experienced a breach, communicate data privacy policies to your customers to build that trust and keep your operations compliant.

When you fail to prioritize the protection of your customers’ private information, you leave your business vulnerable to online threats and hacks. You also leave your business open to breaches that can wreck your bottom line and destroy your business. So make sure you have the right policies, practices and protections in place for your customers and yourself.

 Courtesy of : Chelsea Lamb
 Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

2019-06-06T00:08:33-04:00