5 December 2023

10 Tips for Safeguarding Your Business and Customers on Data Privacy Day

By Ronald Smith

Today, I want to talk about something really important that affects both you and your customers: data privacy. It’s Data Privacy Day, and I want to share ten valuable tips to help keep your business and customers safe.

1. Keep your software up to date. I know it can be tempting to delay those pesky updates, but they often contain security patches that protect your systems from hacking attempts. So, don’t procrastinate on updating!

2. Use strong passwords. Yes, I understand that creating unique and complex passwords for all your accounts can be a hassle, but it’s worth it. A strong password is like a castle wall protecting your valuable information from hackers.

3. Enable multi-factor authentication. This fancy term simply means adding an extra layer of security to your accounts. It might seem like a hassle to receive codes or use fingerprint recognition, but it significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

4. Educate your team. Remember, data privacy is a team effort. Make sure your employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information and train them on best practices like recognizing phishing emails or avoiding suspicious websites.

5. Regularly back up your data. Imagine losing all your important files and customer records due to a system crash or cyber attack. Backing up your data ensures that even in the worst-case scenario, you can recover and continue running your business smoothly.

6. Be cautious with email attachments and links. I know some emails can look very legitimate, but always double-check before opening attachments or clicking on links. Cybercriminals often use these tactics to spread malware and gain unauthorized access to your systems.

7. Encrypt sensitive information. Encryption is like putting your data in a secure lockbox. It scrambles your information into an unreadable format, making it nearly impossible for hackers to decipher even if they manage to access it.

8. Have a clear data privacy policy. Your customers deserve to know how their information is being collected, stored, and used. Create a clear and transparent privacy policy that outlines your commitment to protecting their data.

9. Conduct regular security audits. It’s essential to regularly assess your systems and networks for vulnerabilities. By identifying and fixing weak points, you can stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats, keeping your business and customers safe.

10. Stay informed. The digital world is constantly evolving, and new threats emerge every day. Stay up to date with the latest trends and security practices to ensure you’re always using the most effective protective measures.

Remember, data privacy is a never-ending journey. By implementing these ten tips, you’re taking important steps to safeguard your business and protect your customers’ valuable information. Happy Data Privacy Day!

10 Tips for Safeguarding Your Business and Customers on Data Privacy Day

Having information about clients and customers is important to me, but making sure that private information stays safe is just as crucial for my small business. That’s what I’ve learned from data professionals and others who are celebrating Data Privacy Day on January 28.

I’ve realized that many small businesses, like mine, aren’t well prepared for the sneaky tactics that hackers use to steal data from our systems. And even if we do get hacked, we often don’t know how to handle the aftermath. Bindu Sundaresan, a senior security professional at ATT, agrees.

She says, We often think, ‘Who would bother attacking a small business like mine?’ Small businesses don’t want to spend their entire IT budget on cyber security.

You know, it may seem strange, but small businesses can actually be more appealing to hackers than larger ones. Why? Well, the thing is, smaller companies often don’t put as much effort into cyber security. And this is even more true for small businesses that work as third-party providers for bigger companies.

Let me show you an example. Remember back in 2013 when hackers got their hands on the credit and debit card info of 40 million Target customers? Well, guess what? Those hackers actually started by targeting a smaller business. Yep, they first hacked into the systems of a Pennsylvania contractor who takes care of Target’s refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning systems. And from there, they were able to gain access to Target’s own system.

So, here’s the deal. It’s really important for small businesses and their employees to be aware of the sensitive information they have that hackers might be interested in. Just something to keep in mind, you know?

You know, it’s surprising how many small businesses don’t really grasp the true impact of a cyber security breach beyond their own operations. It’s like they’re just a small piece in a much bigger game, I mentioned.

Take a moment to think about the significance of your data and the potential consequences if a hacker were to get their hands on it. Imagine how that could disrupt your entire business model, Sundaresan chimed in.

Now, here’s the thing: enhancing data security doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Even a small business can afford to have the basics when it comes to security, and it can start from as little as $15 a month.

This year’s Data Privacy Day revolves around the idea of honoring privacy, safeguarding data, and building trust. It’s an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting our precious information, I explained.

I’m here to talk to you about Data Privacy Day. It’s a really important event that the National Cyber Security Alliance puts together. It started in the United States in 2008, and it celebrates the signing of Convention 108 back in 1981. That treaty was a big deal because it was the very first international agreement that dealt with keeping people’s privacy and data safe.

Some Tips for Protecting Your Data on Data Privacy Day 2017

Now, let’s talk about how you can keep your information safe and secure. Here are some tips:

1. If you have information, make sure it’s protected. You’ve got to take reasonable steps to make sure that your customers’ and employees’ personal information is safe from anyone who shouldn’t have access to it.

2. Keep your customers’ trust with a strong privacy policy. You need to let your customers know that you take their privacy seriously. Make sure you have a clear policy that explains how you keep their personal information safe. Be transparent with your customers about what data you collect and how you use it. By being honest and upfront, you can build trust with your customers and show them that their data is important to you.

3. Understand what you’re protecting. It’s crucial to know what personal information you have, where it’s stored, how you’re using it, and who has access to it. Be aware of the valuable assets you possess and why they might be targeted by hackers. Remember, you can’t safeguard something you’re not aware of. Take the time to educate yourself and stay informed.

4. Don’t underestimate the danger. According to a survey conducted by the Alliance, 85% of small business owners believe that larger companies are more prone to cyber attacks than they are. However, this belief is not entirely accurate. There have been instances where cybercriminals have caused small businesses to lose substantial amounts of money, sometimes even reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

5. Don’t gather unnecessary information. Remember, the more valuable data you collect, the more attractive you become to cybercriminals. It’s best to avoid using sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, for customer identification. Instead, opt for using login credentials and passwords. By implementing multiple layers of identification, you can prevent attackers from impersonating users. Additionally, consider deleting any personal information that you don’t actually need. This will help reduce the potential risk associated with storing unnecessary data.

6. Keep your computer in good shape. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the best way to protect yourself against viruses, malware, and other online dangers. Many programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. If you can, turn on automatic updates.

7. Use different layers of security. Spam filters can help you spot and get rid of harmful software and phishing scams that are often targeted at businesses. They can also make your email safer and easier to use. Use a firewall to keep hackers out and protect sensitive information.

8. Check new devices for threats. Before you connect any new devices, make sure to scan them for viruses and other dangers. This will help keep your network safe.

9. Make sure your employees are well-informed. Your employees are often the ones handling customer data. It’s crucial to keep them updated on how to protect that information and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. I will educate them about the newest fraud schemes and encourage them to follow best practices, like not opening attachments or clicking suspicious links in unsolicited emails.

10. Stay cautious of mobile device risks. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops can make your employees more flexible and productive. However, they can also contain sensitive information that, if misplaced or stolen, can harm both your customers and your business. I urge you to emphasize to your employees and partners the importance of keeping these devices secure and take immediate action if they are lost or stolen. Remember, not reporting incidents like these can have even worse consequences.