In the digital age, data security is one of the most important aspects of protecting clients’ financial and personal information. With large-scale breaches affecting millions of people through Facebook, Target, Yahoo!, Equifax and countless other businesses, taking data security seriously is of paramount importance.
Businesses must also establish effective procedures to protect their own proprietary information, financial records and their employees’ personal information. Some steps, such as not sharing passwords and locking computers when they are not in use, are obvious and easy to implement. However, other steps may not seem so obvious and can entail significantly more preparation on the part of business owners.
10 Steps to Secure Your Clients’ and Business’ Information1. Change your passwords frequently: changing your passwords every month or so may seem like a burden, but it is one of the simplest ways you can protect valuable data. Changing passwords helps to mitigate the effect of a data privacy breach by preventing a breacher from stealing all subsequent information you acquire after the breach. Instead, if you consistently change your passwords, the most that a hacker will be able to get is the information contained between the time they figure out one password to the time at which you update to a new password. 2. Lock your laptop when it is not in use: By simply locking your laptop when you are not actively using it, you can eliminate the ability of people in your workspace from seeing your business data or your clients’ personal information. This simple habit is also a step toward creating a culture of privacy around your business that will indicate the importance of protecting the business’ privacy to your employees. 3. Use paper shredders: Sometimes the old-fashioned way is just the best. This is the case with regard to the use of paper shredders. When you no longer need a document that you have printed, it is a good habit to shred it instead of simply throwing it away. This will ensure that sensitive information that you may not have even known about will be kept from prying eyes. 4. Develop a “best practices” plan for use of credit cards: Using credit cards is one of the most convenient ways to receive payment. However, it is of paramount importance that your business develops a best practices plan for the use of clients’ credit cards and the storage of their information. Some important steps include:
- Keeping the credit card numbers and security codes in a secure location (or not keeping them on file at all).
- Sending receipts to clients each time you charge their credit card.
- Removing all credit card information for people and businesses who are no longer active clients.
- Keeping the client’s name in a different location than the associated credit card number and security code.
- Obtaining written authorization before providing a client’s credit card information to a third party.
Please note – the lawyers at Fourscore Business Law are experienced in business matters of many kinds, which give us the opportunity to be involved in tax discussions on a regular basis. However, we are not CPAs or “tax” lawyers. We have many great contacts and refer our clients to them when needed. Please do not take the summary set forth in this article as tax or business planning advice!Based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, Fourscore Business Law serves entrepreneurs and businesses in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, Charlotte and throughout the Southeast. We also represent venture capital funds and other investors who invest in companies located in New York, Silicon Valley and everywhere between. The idea of delivering maximum impact in a simple and succinct manner is what we’re calling the Fourscore Principle. And that is what Fourscore Business Law is based on. Our clients operate in a broad range of industries including tech, IoT, consumer products, B2B services and more. Questions? Shoot us an email or give us a call at (919) 307-5356. Your first call is on us.