Retailers, service providers, medical organizations, and a host of other businesses regularly collect client data via online forms, in-person transactions, and over the phone. While this information is integral to your business operations, it can present major liabilities for your organization if it is not secured with the proper hardware, software, and employee behaviors. Basic maintenance and training play a major role in keeping your client information away from parties that should not be looking at this data.
Lock Down Hardware
Limit how many computers and mobile devices leave the office. To prevent employees from accidentally or intentionally taking home technology, institute a “check in” system, which allows supervisors to see employees who are currently using a device. This creates a culture of accountability, so that employees won’t be tempted to take their work home or use technology for personal reasons.
Avoid data contamination by training your employees to never plug unauthorized devices into a computer. This includes peripherals such as external storage devices, cell phones, or tablets. If these outside devices are infected with malware, it could spread onto your work network.
Strong, Rotating Passwords
Companies should never underestimate the value of a strong password strategy. The first step is implementing software systems the require a combinations of numbers, letters, punctuation, upper case, and lower case. However, this isn’t the only level of protection that passwords provide. You should also set automatic software requirements so that your employees are prompted to create a new password once every few weeks or months. This prevents their passwords from remaining stagnant, which increases the likelihood that a hacker will be able to gain access to an account. Passwords can be a major line of defense against unauthorized client data access, especially if your hardware is stolen or lost.
IT professionals will schedule critical system updates, monitor network traffic, and examine data storage integrity on a regular basis. Networks and storage drives that handle sensitive client information will most likely be encrypted, and it is crucial to make sure these security protocols are working. These maintenance tasks can help alert businesses to potential data vulnerabilities or suspicious activity. It’s important to not let these tasks build up over time – your company should be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to data and security threats.