CHALLENGE: How Your Small Business Can Keep Customer Data Safe and Secure

More and more small to medium-sized businesses are operating outside the bounds of the traditional brick-and-mortar location. The ever-expanding capabilities of the Internet have made it possible to essentially build and run a business without having to worry about anything like office space or a retail location — commerce can be completely virtual now, livings made in the cloud. It’s all pretty exciting stuff, but it also comes with a very unique set of important caveats to keep track of.

As business becomes more digital, the importance of protecting sensitive data becomes more of a growing concern than it’s been in the past. Online commerce requires that customers surrender some relatively sensitive data, in terms of their chosen payment information, and other businesses might have other needs, in terms of what information is collected.

Consumers have gotten increasingly wary, as well. As data breaches continue to make the news, and an increasing number of companies begin to request a seemingly skyrocketing amount of information from the average consumer, many individuals have their guard up when it comes to the safety and security of their data. Here are a few great ways to make sure your customers know you’re keeping their data protected.

Have a Backup Plan

It’s important to know how you’ll respond should something go terribly awry. Don’t worry, this doesn’t make it a self-fulfilling prophecy — rather, it makes you prepared! Having a response plan in place for any kind of data breach means you’ll be able to respond swiftly, minimizing losses in a potentially crucial way.

This comes down to knowing who you’ll contract out for data recovery, in the event of something like a phishing attack. If you don’t have your own in-house IT services, look to professionals. Have a list of contractors at the ready so you can minimize your losses and get things operating smoothly once more. Not only does a quick response ensure you can address the problem swiftly, but it can also help when explaining the situation to your customers. 

Put Your Customers at Ease

A well-crafted privacy policy goes a surprisingly long way. Put your customers’ minds at ease by creating a privacy policy that tells them exactly which steps you’re taking to keep their information safe and protected. Explain it plainly, so they understand everything and make sure to be as transparent as possible.

This practice can go a long way toward fostering customer loyalty in the long run. Being honest with your customers builds trust, which ultimately turns into brand loyalty.

Don’t Overdo the Information Collection

It’s always smart to err on the side of caution when it comes to how much data you’re collecting from your customer base. Avoid collecting more than you need, as this will save you from potential problems in a number of different ways.

Not only will customers thank you for it, but more consumers are resistant to giving away a lot of information to brands and companies; you minimize potential data losses by not collecting more than what you actually need in the first place. If the data isn’t there, you’re not at any risk of losing it! This is also another way that you can build trust with your customer base.

Keeping Data Safe Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Data protection can sound like a pretty complicated situation, but it doesn’t have to be. Having the right system and plans in place can minimize not only your potential data losses but also your stress levels. It’s smartest to know how you’ll react, and it’s even smarter to make sure your customers know what steps you’re taking to protect their data and keep it safe.

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