BUSINESS

4 Steps You Should Be Taking To Protect Data

by DMC Software

We recently study conducted that highlighted how UK businesses are managing their data. Yet, while it found that many organisations are, in fact, aware of how important data is, many are failing to keep it secure or use it to their advantage.

88% of those surveyed said that their customer data records contain errors, often resulting in miscommunications or the intended recipient not being reached. A further 66% admitted that duplicate data is found by accident, leading to inconsistencies in data management.

When it came to investigating how data was managed, 43% said they use a CRM solution, while 20% use an Excel spreadsheet, 5% store data on paper and 11% use email records.

This comes at a time when another study found that 70% of people are concerned about online hacking. Yet for customers to be willing to share their data with an organisation (something which is integral to improving the customer service a business provides), they need to be reassured that when doing so, their data is in safe hands.

We’ve pulled together which high-quality data practices should be implemented.

Assess data movement in your organisation

When beginning your review into data management practices, you should asses how data currently flows throughout your organisation. This will enable to look at the measures you need to put in place and highlight where security is currently lacking at present.

If employees have access to data offline, question whether this is necessary or if this should be restricted in any way. If staff are able to bring their own device in to work to complete their duties, this could risk data records as security protections may not be in place, or may not be as strict as on a work device.

Do you need to share everything?

While collaboration is key in any organisation, security can be compromised if you share everything to all team members. If the data doesn’t need to be accessible by everyone, then restrict it. If you’re thinking ‘but what if’ someone needs access, you can always share this information at your digression, rather than keeping everything in the open.

Question whether there is any legal reason as to why data should be protected, or whether any privacy concerns should be respected. In some organisations, especially where deeply personal information is held, data should only be made available to those who need to use it. As with all data sharing agreements, ask customers if they are happy for this to be shared within an organisation too.

Look into which data security tools you can use to review access to customer records – are they currently serving their purpose or could they do with an upgrade? You want a system which allows you to create security roles to determines what the user is able to see, so if you’re using paper records or email software – this is unlikely to be the case.

Begin with employee education  

Perhaps one of the biggest downfalls organisations are currently experience is that while they are aware of data security on a top-level basis, this message isn’t being communicated to the rest of the organisation. Yet, if employees aren’t aware of the risks that data mismanagement can hold, then they cannot be expected to understand how data should be protected.

Employees should be educated on the processes involved when handling data, with regular training provided to ensure that the latest protocols are being followed. To prompt employees to take charge of data security enforce password changes at regular intervals.

When educating staff discuss the risks involved when a data breach occurs, and how it not only affects the customer but the impact on the business also. Data management isn’t something which is a cause for concern to management, it should be an issue which all in the business are aware of.

Introduce additional protection

To protect data further, encryption measures should be introduced. When encrypting data, you ensure that even if data is stolen, it remains unreadable unless the correct authorisation is provided. An encryption key can be changed regularly so that security remains tight.

Data backups are also at risk, so when choosing a solution, consider which security measures the software holds. So, while current data needs to be protected, so does your back-up.

Data is one of the most valuable assets that a business holds, so as a business owner you should take the necessary steps to not only reassure customers that their data is safe with you, but protects you against the risk of a cyber-attack or data breach too.

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