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August 08, 2018

How to Prevent Client Data from Getting Hacked

Protecting personal and corporate data of clients and the customer base is one of the biggest responsibilities of a business owner or a business manager. Hackers often sneak into the database to get details like social security numbers, employee identification numbers, name, addresses and credit card information to create fake identities and use them for illegal reasons.

Securing the information of clients and customer is always good for the business. But, it is also a law in many cases. As per the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), businesses who do not take measures to protect client information are made to pay hefty fines.

Once clients and customers start losing their faith, it can damage the reputation of your business. There have been cases when the business had to be shut down permanently because of the lack of trust.

Wondering what measures to take in order to keep the data of customers and clients safe and keep the reputation of the company intact? We asked lawyer Marc Lamber of Lamber Goodnow for some advice on how they ensure their client data is secure. He told us that there are various things that you can do to protect client data and earn their trust to build a strong client base.

1.         Adding anti-virus software, firewalls and multiple security layers to the business servers and computers is the first step to protecting information of clients and customers. You may think that a couple of layers of protection would be enough, but there is no harm if there is more protection. Adding a redundancy to the security systems can also be very effective. Hackers often look for vulnerable targets and you can combat them by adding multiple security layers. This would make it difficult to access client information and hackers would soon move to a different website if it’s an easy target.

2.         Web hosts that value business security should always be preferred. You will find numerous web hosting companies offering attractive deals. The customers and clients are able to visit your website because of the web hosts. Basically, your company website is hosted on giant servers and the servers are protected by multiple layers of security.

The protection of the servers is based on the operation of the web hosting company. There are security cameras in the server rooms, hard-wired firewalls, anti-spyware, anti-virus and various other layers of protection that are used by web hosting companies. But, even then, your business may be threatened by hackers from data collected from the host server.

Thinking how that is possible? If you have chosen shared hosting service, then your company website will be working in the same server as that of thousands of other websites. This can often lead to cross-side server attacks - these attacks take place when hackers open an account just so that they access websites that are operating on the same server. Any web host that values your business would monitor server activity to protect websites from cross-side server attacks. But, you should still get multiple security levels to keep your business details intact.

VPS or Virtual Private Server can be helpful to protect sensitive data of clients. VPS can be costlier than shared hosting because it creates a divide between your websites and the others that are on the same server.

Want another solution? Get a private server account for your company instead of VPS or shared hosting. In this case, all the data generated on your website will be kept on a separate server. Yes, it comes at a high price, but the security is top-notch.

Whenever you are planning to opt for web hosting services, always check their security measures. Try and sync server-side software with office-based security software for enhanced protection.

3.         Do not let employees access client or customer data. Keep servers and office computers protected with passwords and limit the employees who have access to the sensitive data. Do not forget to change the passwords whenever an employee leaves the company. There are unhappy ex-employees who try to harm the company’s reputation by stealing or trashing the sensitive data of customers.

4.         Whenever the office is being cleaned by professionals, always lock all the computers, PDA’s, servers, desktops, and laptops. If there is a knowledgeable hacker amongst the cleaning staff, it will only take a second or two to smuggle a laptop out of office. You can also keep all these stuff in a safe storage and lock it down for a while.

5.         Always remain one step ahead when it comes to security. Keep an eye on the latest security features. Also, update and upgrade the anti-virus software installed in computers. You may have purchased the latest anti-hacker software, but if you do not update the software, hackers would find a breach and enter the system to access data. The upgrades enhance the protection you get.

6.         If there is a breach in security and data has been leaked, inform customers and clients immediately. Customers often have a trick or two up their sleeves to protect the information that has been compromised. They can take evasive action by informing their banks and closing down accounts or opening new accounts with new passwords. This is not only good for the business but also the law that is applicable.

7.         Get in touch with a professional. Someone with little knowledge or amateurish experience is not the way to go when it comes to computer security. The web is filled with hackers who have unimaginable power to hack sensitive details. The best thing to do would be to work with a professional in IT security. He/she will have the experience to monitor the servers and keep an eye on the customer information so that they are not compromised. You may have to spend a lot on these professionals, but they would do an excellent job to keep customer and client data safe.

Customer and client information is like an asset to the business. Treat it with due respect. There are uncountable hackers around who are waiting to pounce on even the slightest of weaklings. So, take quick action to protect the reputation that you have rightly earned.

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