Important Steps Your Company Should Take to Handle Sensitive Data

Most businesses have to handle some kind of sensitive data in some way. Even if you just have your client’s contact details, this is personal information that you need to keep secure. As well as handling the data of your customers or clients, your company has its own sensitive data that it needs to protect. Keeping track of all of this sensitive information can require a lot of work, taking a lot of time and money to ensure you’re not only following the law but also your own company policy. There are many things you should be doing to ensure you handle sensitive data correctly, including storing it, sharing it, and even getting rid of it in the right way.

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Here are some of the basic steps you will need to take to handle sensitive data in the right way.

Check Relevant Laws for Compliance

Firstly, you should be aware of any laws and regulations that apply to your business regarding the handling of private data. For example, if you have customers or website visitors from the EU, you will need to know about GDPR rules. In California, similar regulations are also in place. General data handling laws and regulations that apply to you (which can depend on where you and your customers are based) are all important to understand and follow. You need to stay on top of any changing regulations too so that you can keep up and remain in compliance.

Control Access

One of the most important things that your organization should be doing to keep data safe, whether it’s your company’s or your customers’, is controlling who has access to it. Only the people who have a need to see certain data should have access to it. If it’s not necessary for their jobs, they don’t need to be able to see that data. Having the right access controls through the software that you use should make it simple to do this. You should be able to group people together into different access groups and control individual people’s access too.

Make Sure Your Payments Are Secure

A secure payment system is essential for your business, whether you take payments online or through a point of sale system in a physical place of business. Your customers’ payment details are very sensitive, and you wouldn’t want a security breach to take place. You need to be aware of PCI (payment card industry) compliance and laws surrounding the handling of this data. One thing to consider is the use of semi integrated payment systems. This ensures a lot of the compliance is the duty of the payment gateway, rather than the point of sale system. You can learn more about semi integrated payments here to understand how developers and others in business can benefit from them. Secure payments will take care of one of the most important data sensitivity issues for your business.

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Communicate with Customers and Staff

Communicating clearly about how you handle data is one of the things that you should be aiming to do. Both your staff and your customers can benefit from knowing what you do with their data and what steps you take to keep it safe. Some of this information should be in places such as your website and client or employee contracts so that customers and employees can understand and agree to the way their data is used. They should know how they can gain access to the data you have on them and what they can do if they want to have this information removed.

Train Your Employees

Speaking of your employees, they need to have the right training to ensure your organization remains in compliance and handles all data correctly. Any employees that handle sensitive data should know what rules they have to follow and how to keep it secure. They should be trained in using any relevant tools, how to report a potential data breach, and how to avoid any security issues that could arise.

Store, Share, and Remove Data Securely

Whenever any action is taken with sensitive data, it’s important that it is done appropriately. You need to store and share your data in a secure way to protect it and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Even removing data from your systems needs to be carried out properly, ensuring it’s removed at the right time and in the right ways. You shouldn’t keep data any longer than necessary, especially when it’s other people’s personal information.

Make sure your company is handling sensitive information appropriately if you want to comply with the law and best practices.