Tips for keeping customer information safe
Keeping customer information safe doesn’t just protect your customers, it also protects your business. Here are some helpful reminders and best practices for protecting your customers’ information.
Often, the first step in keeping your business and customer information safe is keeping security top-of-mind.
- Stay on top of software updates. Keeping your systems up-to-date gives you the best protection against security threats.
- Check anti-virus websites for security alerts and general information.
- Assume you know everything you need to know about security. Technology changes, and threats do too.
- Think security is someone else’s job — it’s everyone’s responsibility.
Sharing information over the phone
Phone scams are designed to trick you into sharing your customers’ information or important information about your business without realizing who you are actually talking to.
- Find a way to verify the identity of customers who call you, like asking for information only your customer is likely to know. Knowing who you’re talking to helps keep your customers’ information away from scammers.
- Offer to return calls if you’re not sure about a caller. Offering to call back gives you time to make sure the person is who they say.
- Watch out for “name droppers” or anyone who claims to be a VIP.
- Give information to callers you aren’t sure about.
Handling printed information
With all the attention on scams involving new technology, it’s easy to forget how important it is to keep important papers like faxes, notes, and letters safe.
- Pick up faxes and printouts right away.
- Use a cover page when you send faxes and make sure your recipients know they’re coming.
- Label confidential information and keep it locked up when you’re away from your desk.
- Throw away sensitive information in secure trash bins or by shredding.
- Share secret information with anyone who shouldn’t see it.
Keeping information safe on computers and other devices
Technology makes a lot of things easier, including scams. There’s a lot you can do to make it harder for scammers to get their hands on your customers’ information.
- Be aware of your surroundings when sensitive information is on your screen.
- Make sure all the computers on your company network use anti-virus software.
- Install security-related software patches right away.
- Encrypt sensitive information saved on your hard drive.
- Secure portable devices with cable locks.
- Keep your laptop, smartphone, or tablet with you all the time.
- Use a password-protected screen saver and lock your screen anytime you’re away from your computer.
- Log out of your network at the end of the day.
- Open email attachments you aren’t expecting, even from people you know.
Using strong passwords
A strong password is one of the easiest ways to protect your customers’ and business’ information.
- Use passwords that are at least eight characters long.
- Include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Use numerals and special characters.
- Use different passwords for each account.
- Change your password regularly.
- Keep your passwords secret.
- Consider using a password manager program to securely store passwords.
- Use your name, your family’s names, your pet’s name, or a word in a dictionary as your password.
- Change your password in predictable ways.
- Write it down.
- Tell anyone your password, for any reason.
You can learn more about passwords best practices on the online security tips page. Go to online security tips