Keeping Your Customers’ Personal Information Secure

As a small business owner, your clients are going to trust you with a tremendous amount of their personal information. What can you do to ensure that you keep that information as safe as possible?

Your goal? To be so safe the meter is ALL the way up! Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
Your goal? To be so safe the meter is ALL the way up!

1. Have a Privacy Policy in Place

Alliteration aside, setting up a privacy policy serves a few purposes. The most important is that it proves to current (and future) clients that you take their privacy seriously and lays out all of the things that you will do (and will not do) to keep them safe.

2. Work with an Expert

Unless you already understand coding, encryption, and the implementation of computer security protocols, you are going to need to get someone to help you with these things. Do not try to do them yourself. Hiring an expert to ensure that your network is secure is absolutely worth the expense.

Do this before you start collecting client information. If you’ve already been collecting information, hire the expert to help you set up a new and incredibly safe network and then, when that is done, import that information.

3. Consider the Cloud

Cloud technology has security measures already in place and presents an interesting opportunity for the storing of sensitive information. That said, the cloud is nowhere near infallible. Talk with your security expert about whether or not the Cloud is a good place for you to keep sensitive data. Depending on the size of your business, it could be a godsend or a nightmare, which is why getting expert guidance is a good idea.

4. Conduct Regular Security Audits

Every piece matters! Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
Every piece matters!

Test the strength of your firewalls, your encryption system, your network security, and all of your devices, and test them often. This way you can find holes in your security as they develop and take the necessary steps to patch them up.

5. Physical Security

It is highly unlikely that you are keeping all of your customer/client information in digital form. In fact, there are laws in place that will require you to have some things in hard copy and on hand for a number of years. Don’t forget that this information needs to be kept safe and secure as well.

  • Limit access to sensitive client information. Keep the information locked up and away from curious or prying eyes.
  • Do not allow your employees to share information between themselves.
  • Do not allow employees to keep client information out in the open.
  • Put in a security system for the building.

It’s worth noting that you will also have sensitive information about your employees on hand. Make sure you take steps to keep that information as safe and secure as the information provided by your clients.

You can never be too safe!

Remember: There is no such thing as too much security where your employees’ and clients’ privacy is concerned!

Erin Steiner is a Portland based blogger, vlogger and writer who writes about personal finance, small businesses, and her own experiences.

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