Whether you run an e-commerce brand or a mobile app, the chances are that you have tons of data on your users – like email addresses, shopping preferences, locations, and more.
As a business owner, you have a moral – and indeed legal – obligation to keep your users’ data safe and prevent it from entering into the wrong hands.
One slip up could cost you greatly. Not only could you be fined thousands of pounds under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the Data Protection Act, but customers could lose trust in your brand and take their business elsewhere.
Below, we’ve put together some important tips to protect your business and your users…
Keep your software up to date
Updating or patching software can take time and be expensive.
As such, many businesses put off major updates, whether that be to their operating systems, security software, or CMS (content management system), until a quieter period, but this can make your business more susceptible to an attack.
Keeping your software up to date is critical to protecting data.
Hackers and ‘bad actors’ dedicate time to finding security vulnerabilities in software so that they can mine data and do damage to businesses.
Yes, updating your entire operation every time there is a minor software update might be costly and time-consuming, but the security benefits of being on the latest stable release outweigh any potential downsides.
It’s hard to believe that less than half of all businesses encrypt their users’ data.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking payments on your site, accepting comments on blogs or run an app with limited user input – make sure every piece of data you collect is properly encrypted.
Invest in an SSL certificate for your website as a starting point, and weigh up data storage options before making a decision.
All personal data should be encrypted so that, if the worst was to happen, your data would be unreadable (and useless) to anyone who obtained it.
Review third party tools
Whether you’re running an app or a website, you’ll likely have integrated several third-party tools onto your website, but if they’re not working hard to protect your customers’ data, then you should consider giving them the boot.
Review third-party policies on encryption and data protection and make sure that they’re compatible with your own. Some tools offer insurances or guarantees that data will be protected, and pay out if anything was to go wrong.
Test your software for vulnerabilities
You cannot afford to do the bare minimum and hope for the best when it comes to data – you need to be doing everything in your power to ensure sensitive information is viewed by your eyes only.
All businesses – especially those running e-commerce websites or apps – should stress-test their websites regularly for vulnerabilities and potential data leaks.
Rather than relying on artificial intelligence software or in-house staff, consider a third-party cybersecurity specialist to find problems with your code, and set up daily security scanning to make sure that no code or software has been tweaked without your knowledge.
Empower users to manage their own data
Whilst you should take ultimate responsibility for your users’ data, you should also empower them to manage and take care of their own information.
If you’re concerned that data could enter into the wrong hands, then add security features to limit access to user accounts, limit third-party API access to your software and website, and remind users to regularly update their passwords and sensitive information to reduce the chances of a compromised account.
You should also implement third-party authentication within your apps and on your website to offer an additional layer of security, both for your end-users and for staff.
Authentication isn’t bullet-proof and can be bypassed with vulnerable or outdated code, but serves as a security blanket and helps to give users more control and confidence in using their accounts.
Plan for a hack
No business expects to fall victim of a data breach, so on top of doing everything you can to keep data safe and secure, you should develop a ‘disaster plan’ and have contingencies in place should a cyber attack be carried out.
For example, if you suffered a denial-of-service attack on your app or website, how would you continue to offer service to customers without too much disruption?
Putting a clear plan in place will ensure that you are prepared for all possible circumstances, and show clients and users that you can react to challenges.
Add provisions for communicating with your employees and customers, such as setting up an emergency phone line, taking to social media or opening a ‘Status’ monitor where users can track downtime and be alerted to issues with your software and systems.
Workarounds and strategies can help to keep your business ticking over, even if you lose access to data.
Get in touch
At Zudu, we offer app development and web development with industry-standard security features built in. Whether you’re looking for a mobile app or a website refresh, don’t hesitate to get in touch today on +44 (0) 1382 690 080. We look forward to hearing from you soon.