How well you keep your clients’ data and information is a show of how much you value your clients. Some businesses are etched in maintaining client information.
For accountants and auditors, keeping accurate client information is an integral part of their work. The slightest error could be catastrophic to both clients and business, especially if you deal with very diligent clients.
Fortunately, computers have come into the picture. Thanks to computers, data-keeping isn’t much of a hassle as it was before computers.
That said, you still need to know your way around computers to do proper data-keeping. Also, just because you can keep accurate client information, doesn’t mean the data is always safe. The cyber world is rife with hackers who may breach your data security to obtain confidential information.
Rival firms may hire these crackers to compromise your data systems, install viruses, or just steal sensitive information. In this piece, we’ll highlight seven foolproof ways to keep your clients’ data safe.
The Pillars of Information Security
In the digital age, information is steadily becoming an even more valuable resource. That’s why the U.S Department of Defense stipulates five essential pillars of data security.
These pillars are a crucial guide for all businesses looking to keep their data secure. Here are the pillars of data security:-
Integrity means data should retain its accuracy and completeness at all times. No entity should alter or interfere with this data during storage or transmission. It thus involves instituting policies to guide users on using the system correctly.
This describes the validity of an individual to access particular information. It may involve grouping entities into levels of access, where a specific level gets access to particular information.
The assurance that the disclosure of sensitive information to unauthorized entities is guaranteed. Some organizations resort to encryption to achieve confidentiality.
Availability denotes how easily users can access information. The users should also get access to this information at whatever time.
Guarantees proof of the sender’s and receiver’s identity. There is also clear proof of sending and receiving information. That way, both parties can’t deny sending, receiving, or accessing the data.
7 Best Ways to Keep Client Information Safe
When you lose client data, be it an individual’s or business’, it never ends well. In fact, losing some sensitive information could land you in trouble with the law.
With that in mind, here are seven ways to guarantee client information safety:-
1. Find a Dedicated Server
Most companies use shared servers. While this is undoubtedly a cost-effective move, it does make your data pretty vulnerable. Your data is susceptible to breaching if you share your server with other suspicious sites.
What’s more, in some shared servers, one site getting compromised could spell trouble for yours too. It might be a good idea to spend that bit of extra cash on a dedicated server. It will also make your clients more confident in your business.
2. Install Firewalls and Antiviruses
Most firms already have these firewalls and antiviruses in place, but don’t enable them. This beats the logic of having them in the first place.
First, you must understand you are a serious business. So it’s imprudent to settle for these free antiviruses you find online. While they are great for personal computers, they’re a bit risky for sensitive client information.
Firewalls prevent any unauthorized access, and they work like a charm. Antiviruses are the cops of data protection. They detect any malicious programs (malware) that may affect data security and other software setups.
3. Regular Backup Your Files
You should try backing up your data as often as possible. However, the best method is by backing up this data at regular intervals. You can set your computer to back up data automatically, so you don’t even have to lift a finger.
You can’t plan for a malware attack, and sometimes these attacks wipe out your entire data banks. In such scenarios, having file backups could really save the day. So if you don’t have any file backups, start making some backups now.
4. Limit Accessing Client Data on Personal Computers
Most employees have a habit of accessing client data on their PCs. That way, they can get more work done comfortably at home. Also, some employees may just have forgotten to get something done, so they have to do it later on their personal computers.
Whatever the reason is, employees accessing client data from their personal computers is never a good move. When client information is on personal computers, it makes this information very susceptible to breaching.
Consider implementing policies to curb this risky habit. If you don’t do so, you may be contravening the GDPR. If you’re like most folks, you’re probably wondering: what is GDPR? The linked article should help.
5. Educate Your Clients on Email Security
You may not have the sharpest or most technologically aware clients, but it’s not that complicated. Most businesses prefer email as the primary means of communication. Understandably emails are convenient and fast.
However, advise your clients not to save sensitive information via email. Alternatively, you can teach them about encryption so they can send information via email but safely.
6. Be Keen on All Security Updates
Hackers are notorious for exploiting security loopholes. So a secure firewall this year may not be so secure the next.
Luckily software manufacturers roll out updates to keep these hackers in check. It’s your job to be on track with all the latest antivirus and firewall updates. That way, you’ll always be one step ahead of these hackers.
7. Get a Professional
It’s hard to be on top of all things data security. This is especially true when you have other business-related matters to deal with. At times it makes sense to hire a data security professional to get the assurance you need.
Clients Information Security Starts With You
As much as you’d like to blame the malicious hackers on data breaches, data breaches are mostly on you. It is your primary responsibility to safeguard client information.
However, with these seven tips, you are well on track to having the most secure data storage in business. Also, remember it’s not a bad idea to get professionals if things get too complicated.
For more informative pieces, be sure to check out our other articles.