Data is important to businesses for a number of different reasons and small businesses in particular need to be careful about how they collect and handle data. This is important for a number of reasons –both practical and legal. Fortunately, there are now a plethora of tools out there to help you manage your data better and with some simple advice, you can ensure your customers’ data remains safe.
Know What Data You Hold
This is the most important aspect of managing your customers’ data responsibly. You need to know exactly what data you are collecting from your customers and why you are collecting it. It doesn’t matter what the data is or how mundane you might think it is, you should treat every piece of data like it is a password or credit card information.
You should also make sure that you know exactly where your data is stored. If data is being copied from one source and then transferred to another, make sure that there is a reason for this and that you keep track of the data throughout the transfer process.
You should have measures in place to ensure that the only people who have access to data are those that actually need it. If you allow unlimited or unrestricted access to data, then anyone can come in and take a peek at what you have. You never know which pieces of data might be useful to an attacker or malicious actor. For example, the name of someone’s first pet seems like basic information, but it is actually a common security question for resetting passwords.
Again, it is important that you are enforcing data access protocols offline as well as online. This also means that you shouldn’t be relying on an honor system in order to keep your customers’ data safe. You might trust everyone who works with you, but your customers have a reasonable expectation that their data will be kept secure.
Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are an important security measure, but one that lots of people are still failing to appreciate the importance of. Using weak passwords that can easily be guessed is just asking for trouble, and your customers will be understandably annoyed if someone is able to get at their personal data just because you failed to properly secure it.
Some simple steps that you can take to further enhance the effectiveness of your passwords are to use a password manager; these can randomly generate some super-secure passwords for you to use and it makes it easy to use different passwords everywhere. You should also enable two-factor authentication, requiring you to confirm a login as well as provide a password.
Keep Your Data Synchronized
As well as ensuring that data remains secure, you need to make sure that you maintain accurate and up to date records across your business. You can use software like PieSync to ensure that your data is synchronized across devices and platforms automatically.PieSync integrates with 170 different apps, providing an intelligent way to keep your customer data up to date with no duplications.
Using the above advice, data management within your small business should become an easier task.