Why You Should Be Proactive in Keeping Customer Data Safe

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how we live, work, and shop. Now, many companies are employing a remote workforce in the name of social distancing, and customers are choosing to forgo a visit to a physical store instead of shopping online from the comfort of their home. Because of these changes, the world of eCommerce is booming, and everyone’s catching on — including cybercriminals.

With so much competition and money to be made, online businesses need to take more precautions to protect their customer data from cybercriminals. If you’re not proactive against these kinds of crimes, your business’s very survival could be at risk. Whether you own a new business or you’ve been at it for years, cybersecurity should be your number one priority. 

The Dangers of Cybersecurity Inactivity

Folks who run smaller organizations or newer eCommerce websites may feel that cybersecurity isn’t an issue for the little guy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As is the case in the medical industry, hackers are aware that small company owners are like doctors. They either don’t have time to focus on cybersecurity or don’t see themselves as attractive victims, so they don’t put the proper protections in place and they become an easy target. 

Though a cyber-attack can create inconveniences when repairing your systems and patching up any vulnerabilities, the damage created by a data breach is much more serious than many people realize. First, there’s the cost, which could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. You’ll need to hire IT professionals to fix the mess, reach out to customers to offer amends, and possibly inflate your marketing budget to repair your reputation.

Beyond the monetary issues is the fact that cybercrime is simply bad for business. People are very protective of their private information and if they feel that their data is at risk, they have no qualms about taking their business elsewhere. These days, many eCommerce businesses are a dime a dozen, and the last thing you want is for your clients to go to your competitor. You need to create a safe business model that people can trust. 

Why Being Proactive Is Best

Now that you know what’s at risk, it’s time to get proactive about cybersecurity. Though it’s possible to repair systems after a cybercrime, it’s much easier and less stressful to educate yourself about current threats and protect customer data in the first place. An easy way to do that is by hiring a cybersecurity expert who can look at all of your systems, find and fix any vulnerabilities, and keep things running smoothly for the future.

Another reason to proactively look for vulnerabilities is to keep an eye out for dangerous characters within your organization. It’s not rare to have an employee within your establishment who’s looking to make quick money by stealing customer data or selling corporate secrets. By constantly scanning your systems and questioning any suspicious actions, you can sniff out this negative behavior before it’s too late.

Finally, you want to keep an eye on your systems at all times so you can ensure that you stay in compliance with any applicable laws or governing bodies. Failure to do so could negatively impact your business, and if your organization is ever suspected of wrongdoing during a forensic investigation of your cloud usage or data management, the intrusion could make your company look bad. More importantly, the privacy of your customers and their data could still be at risk from prying eyes.

How To Proactively Defend Against Threats

If you’re ready to take your data security seriously, there are several steps you can take right now to put yourself on the right path.

For starters, if your website is not protected by a secure socket layer (SSL), then you need to speak to your web developer and make the transition immediately. Having SSL enabled puts the “s” at the end of HTTPS in your web address, which in itself is a good visual for customers, but it also prevents harmful bots and bad actors from infiltrating your system and negatively impacting your chatbots. 

Next, you need to implement common sense security precautions that can single-handedly save a business. This includes installing antivirus software and running scans on all machines weekly. If any employees work remotely, place them on a virtual private network (VPN) so hackers cannot pinpoint their location and pose an attack.

Another simple but essential way to prevent potential scams and viruses is by ensuring that all employees protect their programs with smart passwords combined with two-factor authentication. This second form of protection can do wonders to keep data safe and you can ensure its success by using a biometric scan.

Finally, make room in the budget to have an expert come in and provide security awareness training to everyone on staff. This recurring class should educate the team on current threats and the best steps to prevent them from occurring while also teaching them how to keep an eye out for the threats of the future. That way, everyone in the company can maintain that proactive spirit and keep customer data safe.

In the end, there’s nothing more important than respecting your customers and the security of their data. Take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and keep your company on the right track now and in the future. 

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