Keeping customer data secure in today's business world
Whether you are the CEO of a big corporation or running one of the smaller businesses around, you likely have a number of things on your plate of responsibility.
First and foremost, keeping your customers happy is something you know that should never be taken for granted. If you slip up in this area of the business world, you can see a quick and major downfall in your company revenue, something that in some cases can be catastrophic depending on the size of your business.
In a day and age when more and more business is being done online and in-person via credit cards, customer data is rising to the forefront of importance.
Protecting information is a necessity
If you find your business handling a sizable amount of customer financial data, there are several steps you can take to make sure it is being handled as carefully as possible.
Those steps include:
- Review procedures – If your business accepts online and/or in-store purchases which involve credit card transactions, review the process regularly to make sure there are no loopholes that identity thieves can exploit. Whether you’re customers are doing business with you online or in person, make sure those credit card transactions are protected. Remember to update the protection features in place, especially given the fact that hackers are always trying to stay one step ahead of you;
- Know your employees – As some business owners have discovered over time, it is not outside thieves but those under their under nose who demand the most attention. When hiring employees, make sure that they do not have any criminal records, especially in the areas of finance. With many people struggling in today’s economy, it is not unheard of for employees to try and sometimes successfully steal from their employers. One area they can target is customer transactions. All it takes is getting ahold of a customer’s credit card info and they could run up quite a bill before anyone suspects there is any issue;
- Keep customers informed – In the event there is a credit card breach or even if there isn’t one; keep your customers in the know on how they and your business can protect their personal financial data. Whether through emails, newsletters, blog posts or social media, update them periodically on the fact (without revealing information that hackers can benefit from) that you are doing everything possible to keep their personal data safe with you when they make transactions.
As Jeffrey Weber of SmartBalanceTransfers.com notes, “It is important for credit card companies to monitor all purchases. In the event a purchase does not seem right, customers should be alerted via email, phone or text. It is very important that the customer never be labeled responsible for an unauthorized purchase.”
With all the credit card transactions being done worldwide on a daily basis, make sure your business is on top of each and every purchase so that your customers have no reason to doubt you.
Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.