Make Protecting Your Customer’s Information A Top Priority
on February 19, 2014 by James T. Hunt, Jr.on February 19, 2014
It seems every day the news reports another significant breach of customer data or computer hacking has occurred at a large company. If you operate a business that collects personal information from consumers, it is imperative that you take action to protect the private data. Your customers expect this protection and the law requires it. How do you get started? Below are a few tips:
- You must first determine the types of data that you collect. If you maintain customer information in several different formats, it is important to consider all the issues involved in using this method.
- You should examine how (paper, digital, etc.) and where (filing cabinets, computers, the cloud, etc.) you store your data to ensure it is safeguarded.
- Investigate who has access to the confidential information. According to 2013 Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study, 35% of data breaches involve a contractor or somebody inside the organization. It is also important to consider whether private data could be inadvertently disclosed. This step may require the assistance of an IT expert.
- Verify the date controls and security that you have in place are sufficient. Are passwords required to access confidential information? Do you use a firewall that is regularly updated? Do you run anti-virus software and how often? This may involve a cost/benefits analysis to determine whether upgrading your security system makes sense.
In short, you want to minimize the amount of confidential data you retain to limit your exposure. Protect sensitive information by locking file cabinets, requiring passwords that are updated regularly, and limiting the number of employees with access to the data. Take action to safeguard your computer system from spyware and viruses. It is also important to maintain a back-up that is in a secure location separate from your operational system. Finally, use caution when sharing information electronically. No private data should be sent via regular email without being encrypted. Taking these steps may seem extreme, but they could also save you the time and expense of future litigation.
The attorneys at Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A., provide clients with experienced legal representation. We handle many types of business disputes on behalf of corporate clients, including Fortune 500 Corporations and individuals throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and nationally. Our attorneys handle cases from pre-litigation negotiations through litigation to obtaining and enforcing judgments. If you need assistance, or are interested in learning more, please contact us by phone at (201) 820-6001 in New Jersey or (212) 692-0200 in New York. We can also be found on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and the Internet. All initial consultations are free of charge.