If you collect customer data, you have an enormous responsibility to steer clear of data breaches and keep your customers’ personal information safe. From credit card numbers and bank accounts to names, addresses and phone numbers, your customers entrust you with their most sensitive information, and a single data breach could put all that information – and your reputation – at risk.

As a small business owner, it’s up to you to ensure your customer data doesn’t get into the wrong hands. The threats to your data have never been greater, and every week there’s news of another data breach. If you don’t want your small business to be the next security headline, you need to take active steps to protect the data on your network.

Here are four simple things you can do as a small business owner to safeguard your customer data:

  1. Limit the quantity of sensitive data you collect

Hackers can’t steal what’s not there, so limit the amount of personal information you collect on your customers. Look at the amount of data you request from your customers – from names and addresses to credit card account numbers – then ask yourself what data you really need.

If you run an online store, you obviously need to collect addresses, otherwise how would you ship your orders? But do you really need to save credit card information or bank data? If you do suffer a data breach, then if you’ve limited the amount of data you collect, you can greatly reduce the damage. Which in turn will reassure your customers and set your business apart from its competitors.

  1. Outsource your IT security and support

You’re an expert at running your own business, but does that expertise extend to network security and software support? Trying to cover your own IT security and support needs could put putting your data at risk.

If you want to enhance protections for your data and your customers, it makes sense to outsource your IT security and support. A managed service firm can tackle everything, from keeping your servers updated and safeguarding your internal files, to monitoring the network and watching for hacking and ransomware attacks. This outsourced approach to network security is a smart move, and a great way to protect your customers and the integrity of your business.

  1. Invest in team training

When you are a small business owner, you rely on your team to carry out your mission and serve your customers. The men and women you hire can be your first line of defence against security breaches, or the weakest link in the chain. It all hinges on how well you train your team, and how seriously they take data security.

Investing in team training now can pay big dividends later, so make sure data security is part of the onboarding process from day one. Stressing the importance of data integrity can help you safeguard customer data, making a data breach far less likely.

As a small business owner you have to wear many hats, and data protector should definitely be one of them. Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, betting that their security protocols and protections are outdated and insufficient. If you want to prove them wrong, you need to take a proactive approach to data protection, and the tips listed above can help you get started.

  1. Engage Four Business Solutions to help you protect your data

We help small and multi-national organisations enrich the way they work. From Supply Chain to Procurement and Contract Management, we have decades of experience helping companies forge ahead in the global market, no matter what their size. Our success is built on values like trust, teamwork and vision. We believe that people are at the heart of any business. That’s why everything we do starts with a conversation. At Four we want to get to know you.

To find out more about our services, simply give us a call on 0800 6250 025.