Security

Top 5 ways to maximize customer data security

Customers are starting to get the message that their data is valuable. Tom Merritt offers five suggestions to ensure your customers' data isn't vulnerable to attack.

With more data breaches in the news than ever before, you need to be a company that proactively protects your customer data, rather than one trying to explain why that data is now for sale on the dark net. Here are five ways to maximize customers' data security.

SEE: IT staff systems/data access policy (Tech Pro Research)

  1. Update software when patches are available. Don't wait for slower, less disruptive times to update—attackers won't.
  2. Encrypt your customer data. All of it. Make users and employees choose strong passwords and require two-factor authentication—preferably from a token or a key, not a text message.
  3. Separate information you need from information you don't. You probably want names and emails for communications, but you don't necessarily need to handle verifying credit card information yourself.
  4. Train your employees regularly. Reinforce what the risks are, and why seemingly annoying and time-consuming policies need to be followed. Attackers prey on the mundanity of data security procedures, and how easily we humans get bored without a visible threat.
  5. Test your weaknesses. Whether you hire an outside firm, set up red and blue teams, or even just ask your team to hammer away on stuff, look for the vulnerabilities and find them before someone else does.

Nothing can 100% prevent an attack or a security breach—the goal is to reduce the chances as much as possible. Hopefully, these tips get you a little closer to zero.

Also see

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    Image: Suebsiri, Getty Images/iStockphoto

    About Tom Merritt

    Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

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