If your business handles anything that might be considered sensitive information, it is worthwhile to invest in training to ensure your customers’ information is safe with you.
Information security and public trust are indelibly linked. If a company experiences a major data leak, or several minor ones over a short period of time, then the trust of its customers and consumers as a whole can be broken, and sometimes irreparably damaged.
This can completely ruin a business, and therefore, modern companies now go to great lengths to prevent any kind of data leak that could affect their business’ integrity or their public image.
In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at how you can protect your company’s public image and maintain the trust of your customers by ensuring your information security standards are kept up to date.
What Private Information Might a Company Need to Protect?
Private information can be quite a broad-spectrum term, and its meaning can differ wildly depending on the nature of the company in question.
In general, however, the examples listed below can cover and encompass the majority of the personal information a company might have about its customers.
- Social Security numbers
- Credit/debit card numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Names of individuals
- Addresses for individuals
- Non-business telephone numbers
- Dates of birth
- Medical information
- Other information protected by law
How do Companies Protect Customers Information?
The two main over-arching threats that cybersecurity professionals monitor for are external threats and internal threats. External threats rely on industry and federal agencies to help resolve threats such as:
- Compromised Devices: such as viruses on computers, mobiles, and other devices.
- Impersonation of Agencies: such as phishing and rogue websites.
- Compromised External Network Access: such as website routers and internet providers
- Invalid Response: such as an improper use of census ID
The company is solely responsible for monitoring and responding to internal threats, these include:
- Disruptions to Website: such as denial of website, website going down, internet traffic
- Compromised Employee Devices: work devices of staff, such as laptops and tablets
- Data Breaches: Brute force malware, phishing, insider leaks
It is the lack of response to internal threats that most companies will lose public trust over. Data breaches in particular are the examples which most frequently make headline news.
How Should Companies Protect Customers from Data Breaches?
There are a variety of techniques that cybersecurity experts should utilize to protect customers from suffering the effects of data breaches:
- Monitoring for data flows that are irregular
- Monitoring for unauthorized access
- Encrypting data; both in transit and at rest
- Testing systems and applications for weaknesses
- Security management
- Security monitoring
- Security analytics
- Efficient patch management
- Cyber awareness training
- Proactive outreach and awareness campaigns
A company that is lacking in any of these protective elements is vulnerable to attack from hackers and data leaks. Therefore, if any of these areas are overlooked in your business, it is essential you address these weaknesses as soon as possible.
What You Should Do: Seeking Certification
If your cyber security methods are outdated, your cybersecurity professional or team is under-qualified, or if you are looking to grow your cybersecurity presence, then training is your next step forward.
There are a variety of great courses you or your staff could opt to take. Many courses can be part of an all-inclusive package deal, or you can opt for you or your staff to study from home, nearer to the workplace.
Listed below are some of the most popular cyber security courses that can be taken to increase the information security standards of your company.
MCA Microsoft 365 Security Administrator: This course takes four days, and is ideal for any company that uses Microsoft 365. It is accredited by Microsoft and involves taking one exam at the conclusion of training.
EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): This course takes five days, and is great for those looking to undertaker higher level, more proactive security work. This course encourages you to stop hackers by thinking like them, and in the course’s duration you’ll learn a variety of white-hat hacking methods. This certification is a boon to have on resumes, and is required by the DoD as standard for any IT applicant.
CompTia Security+: Accredited by CompTia, this course takes 5 days, and is great for creating a strong foundation of cybersecurity knowledge and techniques. Attendees will learn about security tools, attacks, and hacks, as well as other foundational knowledge.
Whichever way you choose to proceed in ensuring your business is cyber-secure, it is important to remember that if you feel there may be a weakness, it is your duty as custodian of customers’ personal information to ensure this potential avenue for hackers is closed off.
Data leaks can have severe ramifications for both your business, and, more importantly, your customers, especially when finances are involved. When it comes to the potential of facing mass customer loss, plummeting profits, and scathing news coverage, investing in training a few key members of staff in up to date security measures becomes very much worthwhile.