In today’s virtual, high-tech world, your company needs to collect information, but then you must keep that information safe. If you fail to do so, it can cost you customers and lead to serious problems for your business.

The smart move is to put a plan in place upfront for handling and managing your customer information. A proactive approach is the best protection you have against hackers, identity thieves and scammers who want to steal this information.

Safety measures

The Federal Trade Commission explains that you should keep only the information that you need. This includes identifying exactly what information you need from your customers and only collecting that information. Once you no longer need the information, you need to use safe methods to get rid of it.

You also need to work on keeping private customer information secure while you have it. Limit the number of people with access to the information, and use proper checks for access. Encryption, private servers, authentication protocols and firewalls are some security methods that may help.

An intrusion detection system may help reveal a network breach. Constant monitoring of incoming traffic, new user activity and outgoing traffic may reveal attacks, hacks and unauthorized data transmissions.

If there is a security breach, you need to have a plan in place for how to handle it. The plan may include disconnecting affected computers or otherwise sealing off vulnerable data storage. Designate an administrative or senior staff member to manage the plan.

Laws and regulations typically require companies to report data breaches to various entities and individuals. Ensure that the person overseeing the breach plan takes care of these reports and notifications.

With a solid plan for handling, managing and protecting your customers’ information, you will have better luck gaining their trust with their information. In addition, you will be less likely to have a security issue.