As a business owner, you should know that your clients' data is essential to your success and that it's important to have the proper safeguards in place to protect their information, and your reputation. Nowadays, no company can afford to be lax with its data security practices — committing a security mistake that puts customer data at risk could cost millions of dollars.
Therefore, you must learn how better cybersecurity can increase client confidence in your business.
Data Security is Key In Building Customer Confidence
Many businesses regularly collect data for a variety of reasons, such as to improve customer experience, create targeted ads to promote their products and services, enhance an existing business model, and for other marketing purposes.
Interestingly, a study by Google found that 90% of customers will willingly share their email addresses in exchange for incentives like a freebie or discount. The same study found that one in three customers will share their email even without an incentive. Clearly, there will always be customers who will willingly share their information.
At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the implications of security breaches, and they want to know that their personal information is safe when they trust a business with their data. That means that you’re not only competing with other businesses in terms of product and service quality, but also in terms of the strength of your data security measures.
If your customers’ data gets compromised, it not only puts your company at risk but also severely harms your reputation. Even your most loyal customers may then lose trust in your company and switch to your competitor. If this occurs, your client retention rate may suffer and this subsequently negatively affects your bottom line.
Safeguards to Boost Client Confidence
By taking steps to protect your clients' data, you can show your clients that their trust is important to you. Here are several ways to improve your cybersecurity and build customer confidence.
STEP 1: Have a secure website
This is critical to securing points of contact in your customers' journey. Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to protect information being transmitted on your website. With your SSL, make sure it is renewed regularly so you don’t lose that security. For extra security, you should also enable two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA requires users to provide two authentication factors, which can be a PIN code or password sent to users’ mobile phone, before they can access their account.
STEP 2: Invest in a good password manager
Doing so lets you store all of your passwords securely in one place, so you won't have to memorize them all. This helps you avoid password reuse, which is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to accounts. Some password managers can even generate strong passwords for you.
STEP 3: Be transparent about the data you gather
Disclose what data you collect and how you use it, so customers can feel in control of their information. In addition, you should give customers the ability to opt out of data collection or sharing, and respect their choices to show that you value their privacy.
STEP 4: Educate your employees about data security
It's important to train employees how to identify potential cyberthreats and what to do if they suspect their organization has been breached. And in the event of an actual breach, make sure your team is trained to proactively respond and follow best practices, particularly if you belong to a regulated industry like healthcare. For instance, HIPAA has a Breach Notification Rule, which states that covered entities and their business associates are required to notify patients in case their medical information is unintentionally leaked or used.
STEP 5: Invest in good cybersecurity solutions
A comprehensive security system will help protect your business from all types of threats. This may include a firewall, intrusion detection and prevention system, malware protection, and potentially more, depending on the size of your business and the amount and sensitivity of data you hold.
STEP 6: Keep your software and plugins up to date
Outdated software can have security vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can easily exploit. Having up-to-date software and plugins helps protect your systems, website, and customers' data.
Implementing all the necessary security measures can effectively show your clients that you're committed to keeping their data secure. Following the steps to success will instill confidence in your clients and encourage them to continue doing business with you. Sometimes, a cyber attack is inevitable - the important piece is to make sure your business is prepared to counter the attack and not lose any valuable data - yours or your clients’. A proactive cybersecurity approach is vital in today’s age of cyber threats, as without the correct preparation, one attack could uproot your entire business for months - or even for good.
Learn how Charles IT can help your company tighten its cybersecurity measures to build and maintain your customers' trust. Talk to our IT experts today!