Small Business How-To For Protecting Customer Data

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Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Their happiness will make or break your bottom line, and there are a lot of factors that add up to a satisfied customer. How they are treated by you and your employees, the quality of your product or service, the ease with which they can accomplish their business with you, all of these things play a substantial role in whether a one-time client becomes a repeat customer.

There is one key factor that actually encompasses all these elements — protecting your customer’s data. From Sony to Target, JP Morgan to Marriott, billions of people have had their digital information compromised because of online threats. While some small businesses may not think their small client pool would be tempting to hackers, that kind of thinking can get you and your business into cyber trouble.
 
If you’re leading a small business and are interested in finding ways to prioritize cyber security, then you probably have a lot of questions. Here are a few answers to help you wrap your head around the basic idea of protecting client data.
 
When should I bring in the big guns?
If you are not tech savvy and lack an in-house IT department, hiring a data-recovery professional can help you put a plan in place to reduce the risk of a data breach or recover after experiencing one. If you’ve been the victim of a phishing attack or other email scam, you may not even realize there’s been a data loss. Partnering with technology and digital security professionals like Secure Data Recovery frees you from trying to navigate the digital world alone and allows you to focus on running your business. You can save time, money, productivity and face by partnering with professionals to get you and your data secure.
 
What can my business handle on it’s own (and with a smaller budget)?
Data recovery is a scalable solution — that means you can find options out there that fit your capacity and budget. For instance, if your main revenue source is e-commerce, make sure you have a secure point of sale system. If you are storing client data on a server, avoid using a shared one and pay the small extra costs to make sure you’re on a dedicated server. You can also add another layer of security by encrypting your data. There are simple, easy options, like using Microsoft’s Bitlocker or more robust encryption measures like using a virtual private network (VPN). A subscription-based VPN can be a more affordable solution for a lot of small businesses.
 
How can my business profit from spending money on data protection?
We all know how important the bottom line is, especially for small businesses. All leaders know there will be times of feast and times of famine, so it’s important to make sure there is a strong return on investment for every dollar spent. One company calculated the cost of each stolen record in a data breach at $160 — that’s because you’ll feel the damage of stolen customer data in multiple ways, including losing your reputation and credibility. If a breach were to occur, you’d risk upsetting and unsettling customers, and maybe even have to pay fines or legal fees. Data security may require some upfront costs, but protecting important client data can save you big in the long run.
 
Prioritizing customer data is synonymous with prioritizing customer service. When your clients feel their data is secure, they feel more secure in other things — like product quality and return policies. Plus, a robust data protection policy can save your business — and not just financially, but your reputation as well.

Blog post contributed by: 
​Julie Morris
Life and Career Coach
juliemorris.org

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