Is Your Customers’ Information Really Secure? Inadequate Policies May Be Putting You at Risk

Privacy and security are hot-button words right now. We’ve seen endless media reports of retail data breaches, hacking, and identity theft. As a result, the public places an increasing importance on the safety and security of their personal information. At BMS, we understand the challenges our clients face when it comes to creating and maintaining adequate security measures. We also know that sometimes, these measures become out-of-date or inadequate to meet new dangers. We encourage all of our clients to periodically assess their security protocols so that they feel confident that they are best serving their own customers. Here are some tips to consider for both physical and electronic data:

Physical Records and Information

  • Have a clearly defined protocol as to how physical records are kept and stored, as well as who has the authority to access them. That way, if questions or problems arise, you can cite your office policies quickly and easily, and immediately narrow the possibilities as to how the problem occurred.
  • Take stock of your physical space, and see where your weaknesses are. Do you have an adequate security system? Are you diligent about building/office keys, especially from departing employees? Have you trained staff with building access about where and how you expect keys or security cards to be stored? Is hard copy data stored in an appropriately secure manner? Assess your space and access points to determine where you need improvement.
  • Develop emergency plans in regards to data that account for natural disasters, break-ins, or employee misconduct.

Electronic Data

  • Ensure that your IT professionals have the knowledge and training so that they can craft security protocols that match your system and operations, including servers, networks, and personal terminals. Not every person with a computing degree is qualified for this task, so know that your IT team is well-suited for your needs.
  • Maintain current anti-virus and firewall software, and stay up-to-date on emerging threats to ensure that your IT partners act accordingly. Also, backup data nightly to an offsite storage medium to prevent loss.
  • Have a clearly defined set of rules for employees and electronics, including how office computers should or should not be used, in-office personal cell phone use, and even social media conduct. These policies should always emphasize the importance of security and the sanctity of customer information.
  • If you are unsure how your operation’s security stacks up to industry standards, consider utilizing the services of a professional security consultant. He or she can analyze your entire system and procedures, and suggest improvements for weak spots.

While maintaining adequate security procedures seems like a complicated undertaking, the process really is essential to maintain industry standards. Furthermore, if something ever does go wrong, your public relations fall-out will be greatly reduced when you are able to show the clear, current, and above-board policies you had in place. Take the time now, and you will avoid the headaches later.

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