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Data Breaches on the Rise: Simple Steps to Protect Yourself

Protect your information
Protect your information
www.businessbigwigs.com

According to some reports, data breaches in cities like New York have as much as tripled since 2006. With data breaches on the rise throughout the country, many businesses wonder how they can protect themselves and their customers or clients. As more people routinely share their personal information with organizations and businesses, the risk that their information may be compromised goes up. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to take steps to protect all of their data. The following tips can help.

Careful Assessment

The first step a company must take is to assess its current data. What data is requested from customers and how much is currently kept? While the company may say it keeps data for a period of time, is that true? Is data on file that should have been discarded based on company policy? When an organization essentially inventories the data it has, it can better make a plan regarding its data needs going forward.

Obtain Only the Information Needed

After a company has taken stock of its data, it can begin to revise its plan regarding the information it asks clients to provide and the length of time it intends to store that data. When it comes to data storage, security is needed. A company needs to asses if its security measures are strong enough to protect the data it has collected. Experts suggest, "Collect only information that you need, store it only for the minimum time that you need it, and deploy data minimization tactics wherever possible." (1)

Craft an Information Security Plan

Companies should carefully assess their current security plan and take measures to revise it to be in accordance with best practices. Some companies may wish to incorporate new technology into their plan. For instance, "TROY Security and TROY MICR Toner Secure™ allows users to protect the words and graphics printed." (2)

If a Breach Occurs, Take Action--Now

Companies must adopt a policy that insists upon immediate action and investigation in the event of a security breach. Companies also need to understand all the laws regarding data breaches as they may be legally obligated to inform customers of the breach.

Provide Customers with Mitigation Services

In the event of a breach of customers' data, the company should provide some mitigation services to help their customers deal with the threat of identity theft. Some companies may provide free credit reporting to help customers note any changes in their credit. Though not required by law, some services will ensure that customers remain customers and do not take their business elsewhere. Companies that allow--even accidentally--allow customer data to be compromised owe customers something in return to soften the blow.

Data theft is on the rise and coping with data breaches is something most businesses struggle with today. The key to protecting data effectively is to learn about the best methods for storing data securely so that your business can do everything possible to ensure the integrity of clients' data.

Sources:

1. MyChamplainValley.com, "Report: Data Breaches on the Rise in NY," http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/story/d/story/report-data-breaches-on-the-rise-in-ny/33376/COcHx_dWoEuhTFcDGHkCNg

2. Troy Group, http://www.troygroup.com/products/toner/security_toner.aspx