Five top tips to protect customer data

Businesses in a wide variety of sectors are dependent upon collecting large volumes of customer data – but what can be done to make sure this is protected?

No matter what size your business is, from a one-man operation to one million employees, protecting company data – both yours and your customers’ – is essential to business success.

Confidential information is entrusted to businesses every day – from financial information and addresses to business plans and employment history – and it is your duty to protect it.

However accidents can happen and unintentional breaches can be made. It is important to ensure that your business is covered for such unforeseen eventualities with the correct business insurance from specialist business insurance specialists like Markel. There are steps you can take, however, to ensure that this doesn’t occur and the reputation of your business remains unscathed.


As effective as passwords are, they only offer a certain amount of protection for the data in your care, and if you’re hacked they can be easily bypassed using openly available software. You may think that only large companies need to encrypt their data, but when it comes to sensitive information you can never be too careful. If you have already done this but in the distant past then make sure you keep updating it, as encryption standards improve as our technology does.

Safe payment

When using online payment for clients and customers it’s essential to ensure that it is done safely and that details are stored in accordance to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Using platforms like PayPal can ensure this is done for you and that no breach occurs; this is essential otherwise you could be hit with a hefty fine – not to mention the damage to your reputation.

Back up

Of course you don’t want data to be stolen but you don’t want to risk losing it either. Backing up data, either to an external hard drive or secure cloud software such as SpiderOak or Carbonite, is good business sense  as being without your data could potentially cause mass issues. As with your personal computer at home, this should be done on a regular basis; once a day if not more. There are a myriad of options available but be sure to choose one suitable for business information.

Lock down

Viruses and malware are now a big part of digital life; these are ways which hackers like to use to make life more difficult. Protecting your computer, laptop and other devices used for work against these is imperative as you don’t want people gaining access to the data you protect, as well as your own business data. Using antivirus and firewall protection such as that offered by Avast means that you’re protected, and is a small price to pay for that peace of mind. If you’re using a wireless network whilst working you will also want to ensure your connection is secure (WPA2/PSK) and encrypted with a strong password.


We have come around full circle to passwords; although these might not offer all the protection you need they’re still highly valuable, and once you’ve secured your devices with the ways suggested above you’ll need a password to ensure prying eyes don’t see things they shouldn’t. You should be entering your password every time your device comes out of sleep or lock mode and when you turn your computer on. If you want to be extra cautious you can even install apps on your laptop that will run a remote wipe, should it ever be stolen.

See also: Data protection and GDPR – what are my legal obligations as a business?

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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