As more homes and businesses in the U.S. adopt connected technology, opportunities for data breaches or security hacks continue to increase. With this increased risk, the job of securing customers’ data falls to every part of the technology supply chain – from the software developer to the wireless carrier and even third-party vendors.
"Securing data and systems is no longer optional – it is strategic and the cost of doing business in an ever-connected world."
At CLEAResult, we help utilities design and implement energy efficiency and demand side management programs, which frequently means we are handling customer data on their behalf and need to implement air-tight security protocols to ensure the customer data is kept safe.
To do this, we implement the below strategies that allow our clients and their customers to feel confident that security is always top-of-mind.
• Be selective with access. When keeping client or customer data, only employees who support that business should be given access to it. Keeping data access to a business need versus giving all access mitigates the risk of unnecessary data exposure or falling into the wrong hands.
• Provide transparency. Clients should always understand how their data is being used, who is using it and when. Additionally, including measures to increase transparency in data will allow internal teams to understand how it is being used and increase accountability by leaving a record of data use. We have found that many clients also require this as part of their contracts, signaling that if it isn’t something that your team has implemented yet, the request will likely come.
• Work with third-party auditors. While we can do everything in our power to ensure data is secure, working with third-party auditors can help ensure that our efforts are meeting compliance and that clients have the utmost confidence in their data security.
• Engage all employees. The majority of security issues come from human error such as clicking on a phishing link in an email, so it is key that employees at all levels are trained on how to identify and avoid potential security risks, as well as feel empowered to report any issues they see. At CLEAResult, we see cybersecurity as everyone’s responsibility. In fact, this is not just an employee issue, it should be a recurring agenda item for every corporate board that governs a company.
• Understand that security trends are always changing. Securing your data cannot be a “set it and forget it” strategy as cybercriminals are always trying to be one step ahead of the latest security tools. Staying on top of new trends and tools in the marketplace and investing in data security will ensure security protocols you employ do not fall out of date.
Securing data and systems is no longer optional – it is strategic and the cost of doing business in an ever-connected world. The damage of one breach could be irreversible to your business and as such, it is imperative that all decisions are made with the highest level of security in mind.