The UK may have slid out of Europe amid tears and champagne but the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation still applies to both European and UK small businesses up until 31 December 2020 because of a transition period.

This transition period may well be extended if the bickering talks fail to reach an agreement. But that said, whether you are a small office business trading in Europe, the UK or cross the border it’s important to have your customer data protection nailed down.

We all know what can happen if a small business is hit by a cyber-attack and customer data is compromised. Loss of trust and credibility usually follows and in a worse case situation, this can also lead to the business folding. It happens.

If you haven’t got to grips with GDPR or it’s simply not crossed your mind here are a few tips that will help you protect your customers’ data and in turn protect your business.

  • If you’re collecting customer data you need to be protecting it too. This means that you need to have reasonable security measures in place to protect employee and customer information. This might seem onerous and expensive but for a small office, it can be as simple as ensuring you have an antivirus installed on all your computers, including smartphones, and that any databases/spreadsheets you are using can’t be accessed by hackers and unauthorised people.
  • Let customers know you are protecting their data. Formally, this is a privacy policy. Informally, it just means that you’ve covered all the bases, for instance, you have strong passwords in place, the passwords can’t be accessed by just anybody and you use a password manager to generate strong passwords. You may not be specifically doing all of this but the point is that whatever steps you are taking illustrates that you have taken responsibility for protecting data. Letting customers know about this with customers builds trust and shows you value their data and are working to protect it.
  • If you’re in a business where a lot of data is flowing in, ask yourself whether you really need to keep all of it. The fact is that the more valuable data you have, the more likely you are to be a target for cyber miscreants and identity thieves. So rather than using names and addresses, for instance, as a form of ID, consider using log-in and password IDs instead. The more personal info you have of your customers, the more upset your customers will be if this information is somehow hacked or stolen. So as such don’t hesitate to delete personal information you don’t really need.
  • Your employees need to be cyber smart given that they typically handle customer data. They should be kept up to speed on the newest fraud schemes and urged to employ best practices such as not responding to or opening attachments or clicking suspicious links in unsolicited email messages.
  • Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are today’s de rigueur workaday tools. Where would we be without them? But so often they hold lots of sensitive information, which, if lost, can damage your customers and your business. Employees need to understand the importance of keeping these devices secure from loss or theft, and above all report loss or theft without delay.
  • Good security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defences against viruses, malware, and other online threats. BullGuard Small Office Security is, as the name implies, designed exclusively for small businesses.

At the core of BullGuard Small Office Security is multi award-winning antimalware protection bolstered by the latest innovations in cybersecurity such as machine-learning, to ensure the data on your devices is always protected. Importantly, it also features centralised management, so whether you have 5, 10 or 15 devices to protect, one person can manage them all remotely from a single cloud-portal, whether it is ensuring all devices are updated or whether you want to lock down a lost or stolen device. And it only requires a few minutes of your time.