This article was contributed by freelance writer and blogger Melissa Gonzalez.

Protecting your business and consumer data has caused many a headache for security-conscious business owners. It can be stressful to ensure you comply with the data privacy laws set by the federal and state government. It can also be stressful to ensure your software and passwords are strong enough to prevent data breaches.  

Companies with solid policies and software are more desirable for consumers because they know their data will be protected and not abused. However, data breaches and privacy lawsuits make consumers avoid businesses like the plague.

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While it may be a thin tightrope to walk, there are things you can do to strengthen the security of the data for your consumer or business.

Harness the power of a virtual mailbox 

Your consumers’ privacy is vital, but you shouldn’t let your own privacy fall by the wayside. A virtual mailbox is excellent for maintaining professionalism without compromising your home address. Online lurkers can phish your address and use it to send reams of junk mail or worse, but when you use a virtual mailbox, you can shred any junk ads with the tap of a finger. 

Virtual mailboxes are also staffed locations to maintain the safety of mail containing sensitive client and vendor information. For more information about the various applications of virtual mailbox technology for your business, check out resources like these.  

Write up a privacy policy, and have customers sign it

If your business collects any information from consumers, you need a privacy policy. A privacy policy can protect you if one of your customers accuses you of abusing their data. It should detail what information you collect, how you use it, and how you protect it.

Make sure you follow all the privacy laws in the state you operate in to protect your business from lawsuits. Companies with a privacy policy are also seen as more secure and professional than ones who do not, attracting more customers.

Educate employees on data security

Employee mistakes cause most data breaches, so take the time to educate the employees to understand the processes and importance of data security. Employees should have strong passwords that change every sixty to ninety days. Sensitive data should also only exist in company-approved locations, like an authorized cloud service.

More than that, you and the employees should understand why you collect the information and how you use it. This training functions for customer service and helps the employees understand the necessity of these processes.

Another thing you and your employees need to be aware of is scams. You should educate team members and yourself about the latest scams and how to protect your business from social engineering. 

Get anti-malware and security software for your business

There’s only so much you can do to protect your customer’s data by yourself, so it’s necessary to install anti-malware and security software for your business. Security software can protect your business from phishing and data breaches by detecting and removing harmful presences from your systems. 

Systems like Microsoft 365 can now automate privacy settings so no one can leak data. Always be careful of any information that other companies hold to ensure they have strict privacy policies and security software.

If you’re still concerned about data breaches and viruses, you can outsource to a software security company. Many big-name companies do invest in this service to keep client data secure. 

To wrap things up 

Security and data privacy are critical for all businesses, so do your utmost to uphold your company’s information security. Understand your system, and cover its weak points by teaching your employees, practicing good privacy practices, and paying for extra protection. 

About the author

Melissa Gonzalez is a Georgetown alumnus, freelance writer, and self-proclaimed superfan of the classics (with a soft spot for Jane Eyre—which she’s read over 15 times in between passion projects). When Melissa isn’t journaling, blogging, or making an impromptu trip to Madrid, she’s mastering her craft with MasterClasses on all things writing. To Melissa, great writing is to read between the lines, take risks without hesitation, and live by the anthem: “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”

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