Nurturing relationships with customers is a fundamental part…
Customer data can be used to track purchases, provide an accurate inventory of products and provide the customer with a one-of-a-kind experience. Yet, you need to be aware of the fact that this information can be a potential target for hackers.
Cybercrime is increasing exponentially and both small and large companies are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Your customers are counting on you to keep their personal data secure and safe from would-be hackers and exploiters. It is your responsibility to keep their sensitive information from leaking out publicly. Leaked data can erode trust in your company and compromise your business.
Maintaining long-lasting relationships with your customers takes time and effort but is well worth it. That is why data security should be your top priority when coming up with marketing strategies.
You already know the many benefits of having customer data easily accessible and usable for any number of activities. But, what can you do to protect your customers’ sensitive information online? Here are five tips that you can use now to protect your data from hackers.
1. Protect Your Data
Physical protection of your IT infrastructure is an important first step in protecting your customers’ data. In order to control who has access to your network, you will need to install a firewall. Antivirus and antimalware software will protect you from viruses and other threats that could compromise the security of your CRM data.
Make sure you regularly update your operating system as well as all security software on all your computers. Encryption software can also be another line of defense against data breaches. Many multi-functional devices can be set to encrypt data so it can’t be stolen before it reaches its destination.
2. Choose A Reliable CRM Provider
An important step in securing your customers’ data should be to research companies that offer CRM solutions. The company you choose to handle your customer data should provide unlimited secure access to requested data and be reliable enough to follow the strict data standards outlined in ISO 27001. Your CRM provider should be transparent with its dealings and have a good reputation for securing data.
For good customer relationship management, you definitely need to look for a provider that has secure databases either in-house or in the cloud. A CRM provider that is registered with the Cloud Security Alliance through their CSA STAR registry can be trusted with securing your customers’ data.
3. Educate Your Employees
Many data breaches happen because employees become careless in handling documents, software, and passwords. Conducting a risk assessment can reveal the weaknesses in your current security protocols and help your employees “plug in the holes.”
Your employees need to be trained on how to use their equipment the right way to ensure that data breaches don’t occur. You can have a role-play scenario or use videos to show your employees what to do and what not to do in case of a data breach. After the training, you should test out the security protocols for each piece of equipment.
Your employees need to understand the dangers of opening up e-mails from unknown senders and clicking on suspicious URLs. Such links could lead to malicious websites that install malware on your employees’ computers. As a result, your customer’s data can be stolen.
One of the most important things you should teach your employees is never to access sensitive data via public Wi-Fi. It is important to emphasize to your employees that public Wi-Fi is an insecure channel for sending sensitive information.
4. Be Smart With Passwords
The easiest way for hackers to access your data is by guessing common passwords. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you and your employees should use strong passwords with a complex combination of numbers, symbols, and letters. Unfortunately, those strong passwords are very easy to forget, or if they are written down they can be lost or stolen.
Many corporations are now relying on two-factor authentication to secure their data. This requires the user to present two or more pieces of information to access their account. For example, every time you try to log in to your account, you will get either a text or an app notification with an additional code you will need to enter in order to access your account.
This prevents anyone without that additional code from accessing your data and presents an ideal method for securing personal information.
5. Monitor CRM Activity Closely
You may not be able to monitor all your CRM activity all the time and you may also not be able to monitor all your employees’ actions when dealing with customer data. You can, however, set up alerts on your network to alert you of potential issues and unusual data access patterns.
Remember that vulnerabilities happen and a well-trained IT security team can help you resolve issues before they get out of hand. Remote security software systems are also available.
With these five tips, you can assess what your current situation is and plan some action steps for you and your employees. Remember your customer matters. Data breaches can ruin your customers’ relationship with you and your company. Data breaches are preventable and can be avoided with a secure network and well-trained staff.