Customer privacy is not always among the top concerns of startups and small businesses. Many small organisations seem to think that they’re not in any danger because of their size. But if a company is still in its early stages, it doesn’t mean it is off the hackers’ radar. Even extensive cyber insurance can’t protect you from an attack, it can only deal with the aftermath.
Startups still have to deal with a lot of privacy-related issues and the challenges of complying with data protection laws. Here are some of the critical steps they have to follow to avoid data breaches and legal disputes.
1. Maintaining transparency
For starters, businesses need to be fully transparent about their data collection habits and actions. It applies even during the earliest stages of development. It includes informing the customers of collecting and using any data.
The most commonly collected data includes email addresses, names, and cookie identifiers. Some companies also collect common pieces of information, such as phone numbers and physical addresses.
2. Following the policy
Either way, such bad habits can contribute to a negative reputation of the company. It can lead to a decrease in growth and sales numbers.
3. Minimalist approach to data collection
The best way to protect customer’s data is not to collect it at all. But considering today’s marketing campaigns, not collecting any information is pretty much impossible. Without customers’ data, businesses cannot target the right audience, create remarketing campaigns, or measure ROI. While quitting data collection for good is not possible, companies can reduce the amount of information they retain.
A minimalist approach to data collection can lower the risk of breaches and data loss. After all, the less data you own, the less data you can end up compromising in case of a security incident. Therefore, businesses should focus on reducing the amount of information they collect. Sometimes the essentials – names and email addresses – can be enough.
4. Protecting users’ data
Lastly, the best way companies can protect user’s data is by protecting their entire digital infrastructure. It includes the implementation of basic as well as advanced cybersecurity measures.
They can start by setting up two-factor authentication, updating programs, and security tools. Moreover, reliable encryption software becomes a necessity. It’s essential to encrypt files with customers’ data and employees’ devices. It’s best to go as far as possible and also encrypt communications (emails, messages) and use a virtual private network service to encrypt internet traffic. It is in companies’ best interest to set up reliable VPNs such as NordVPN for extra online security. That way, hackers or third parties of any sort cannot intercept any data related to the business.
Other safety measures that can do wonders when it comes to cybersecurity include frequent network scans and installation of robust malware detection programs.
Ensure optimal security for your business
Small businesses usually operate under limited budgets. That’s why not many of them have the funds for dedicated security teams. It leaves an enormous loophole in the system. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities and extract user data from the network. The four protection steps listed above are some of the most crucial methods for maintaining data security.
Besides limiting data collection and securing the network, businesses must provide proper cyber education to all their employees even if their job positions have nothing to do with the topic of cybersecurity. By raising awareness among the employees, companies can prevent a large number of cybersecurity threats and attacks. After all, most of them leverage employees’ lack of knowledge.
As small businesses grow and transform into medium to large corporations, they must start investing in cybersecurity teams. The presence of security experts will reduce the likelihood of security incidents. It will also lift the weight off of other employees’ shoulders.