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Protect customer data from tempted staff

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in Centerpiece,Office Management,Records Retention

spreadsheetCon artists and hackers aren’t the only threats to your customers’ credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other financial data. It’s easy, and tempting, for employees to access customer data that you keep.

A poll by Harris Interactive found that 46% of employees and managers consider it “extremely easy” or “easy” to steal customer data from company databases.

Advice: Limit access to employees who have a business reason for seeing your customer data. Then follow these tips:

• Train employees to take basic steps to protect customer information.

Let only trained workers handle calls requesting private data.

Regularly remind staff that they can lose their jobs and be prosecuted for misusing data.

• Limit outside access to customer data by business clients and partners.

If you share information with other organizations, require that they sign an agreement that places strict limits on how they may use your customers’ data. Specify your data storage standards.

• Plant fake entries, such as addresses and account numbers, in customer lists. Monitor them for unauthorized charges.

• Periodically review computer logs to spot unauthorized users and suspicious access patterns.

• Dispose of outdated customer information. Store paper reports securely until you can shred them.

Erase all data from computers, diskettes and hard drives if you decide to get rid of them.

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