Learn to safeguard customer data through comprehensive security policies, regular policy updates, rigorous compliance monitoring, and cutting-edge technical strategies. Enhance trust and privacy, protecting your business’s reputation and customer relationships. 

Main Points

  • Craft strong security policies 
  • Conduct data audits and classify data sensitivity 
  • Set clear security objectives and standards 
  • Educate employees and regularly review policies 
  • Implement compliance monitoring 
  • Consult professionals and conduct third-party audits 
  • Employ advanced technical strategies 
  • Include source code escrow in security planning 

Data breaches have become all too common, affecting millions of individuals and tarnishing the reputations of numerous companies. Does your business have a plan for if—or, realistically, when—this happens to you? 

The consequences of failing to account for customer data security extend far beyond immediate financial losses. Data loss can lead to long-lasting damage to a company’s reputation, erode customer trust, and result in severe regulatory penalties.  

Clearly, securing customer data is not merely a compliance requirement. It is a critical element of business strategy that companies must address with utmost seriousness. 

In this blog, we’re sharing the best practices to help businesses protect sensitive information. By establishing a strong customer data security policy, organizations can safeguard their operations from risk. 

Continue reading to learn how to build a framework that protects and enhances your relationship with your customers through increased trust and privacy. 

How to Keep Customer Data Secure: Best Practices

Every good strategy begins with a plan. We advise every business to begin by crafting a strong security policy that governs the way the entire organization handles data. Below, we’ll expand on the most crucial elements of a comprehensive data security plan. 

Understand Your Data 

You must understand your business’s data, where it’s stored, and how it is vulnerable to breaches. All data should be classified by sensitivity level. The best metric is the probable impact of exposure. For example, consider the legal and financial implications of a HIPAA violation.  

We advise you to begin with a comprehensive data audit. The more you know, the better you can guide your security measures. 

Define Security Standards and Objectives 

Define clear, actionable objectives for what your security policies need to achieve. Objectives might include:  

  • Preventing unauthorized data access 
  • Ensuring data integrity 
  • Maintaining data availability 

Likewise, standards should be developed that govern the way team members handle day-to-day data and security risks. You’ll need to account for the following: 

  • Password policies 
  • Encryption standards 
  • Access controls 

Your industry may have unique compliance requirements. Always use industry requirements as your source of truth when crafting standards for your business.  

Employee Education and Regular Policy Reviews

Clearly define data security roles and responsibilities within your organization. Ensure that every employee knows their role in protecting customer data. Consider offering training and education and requiring an annual or bi-annual review of your security policies.  

Likewise, aim to establish a regular schedule for reviewing and updating security policies. Threats are constantly changing, and technology is in constant flux. As a result, your standards and policies cannot remain evergreen.  

Regular policy updates will help incorporate new security practices and technologies that can better protect customer data. Ensure employee training and education reflect these changes and updates as they occur.

Compliance Monitoring

Next, ensure you have a plan in place for security compliance monitoring. According to IBM, data compliance is “the act of handling and managing personal and sensitive data in a way that adheres to regulatory requirements, industry standards, and internal policies involving data security and privacy.” 

 Monitoring should be rigorous to ensure the highest compliance levels. 

Techniques might include: 

  • Audits 
  • Use of security monitoring tools 
  • Regular and random compliance checks 

    Professional Consultations and Third-Party Audits 

    Relying on core competencies is wise, especially when handling something as sensitive as data security. Even if you have an internal security specialist, consider consulting with external experts and third parties. They can often provide insights into vulnerabilities your internal team may have missed and frequently offer solutions.  

    The experts at HubSpot recommend third-party security audits as another best practice for businesses. They can confirm what you’re doing right and provide documentation of regulatory compliance. Ultimately, such audits can be key to building customer trust. 

    A man is on the phone in front of a monitor with a Security Breach error message
    A man is on the phone

    Technical Strategies to Enhance Data Security

    It’s also a best practice to employ technical strategies to fortify your private customer data. These might include the following: 

    • Encryption: Encryption allows you to convert data into a secure format, making it unreadable to anyone without a key. This protects your data both in transmission and while at rest. Ensure you’re using up-to-date encryption protocols and update your keys regularly.
    • Access Control: Employees should only have access to the data necessary to complete their job. Role-based access control (RBAC) prevents accidental data exposure and reduces the risk of internal threats. Likewise, you should require multi-factor authentication for any data an employee must access as part of their role.
    • Secure Data Storage: Wise businesses store their most sensitive data separately from data at lower security levels. High-security data requires high-security storage solutions. 
      To store customer data securely, you may wish to invest in off-site data storage. Follow a schedule for regular backups. Multi-site storage can help prevent all backups from being compromised simultaneously in the event of a breach.  

    Other technical strategies might include the use of firewalls and VPNs, secure coding practices and patch management, and advanced threat protection protocols. Advanced technologies, such as cloud storage and blockchain, can also contribute to a tech-forward security plan.

    Source Code Escrow in Customer Data Security

    Source code escrow is emerging as a new practice in customer data security planning. It protects both software vendors and end-users.  

    Technology escrow ensures that licensees do not lose access to their most mission-critical software or SaaS applications in the event of a breach. It also protects licensees in the event of vendor bankruptcy or other adverse events that could result in a discontinuation of service. This is especially crucial if your software includes customer data at any security level.  

    Source code, backups, and any associated documents will remain in two secure, off-site facilities. In the event of a trigger event, you’ll gain access to the code, ensuring the continuation of service. The legal protection provides peace of mind for business owners who rely on specialized software.  

    Ready to take the next step in securing customer data? Head to our IP protection page now.


    author avatar
    Jorge Sagastume
    Jorge Sagastume is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the software escrow industry. As the President of EscrowTech International, Inc., he has demonstrated a profound expertise in navigating the complexities of software escrow agreements and intellectual property management. His leadership has been instrumental in solidifying EscrowTech's reputation as a trusted and reliable partner in the tech industry. Jorge's commitment to excellence and his passion for delivering top-notch service are reflected in the long-standing relationships he has built with clients and partners alike