What Have You Done to Ensure Service Providers Are Protecting Your Confidential Data?

More and more of your confidential data is being stored, accessed, and transmitted online. This means you MUST make sure service providers are doing whatever necessary to ensure you don’t find yourself falling victim to data or identity theft.

Ask Service Providers this One CRITICAL Question About Keeping Your Data Secure

Whether you’re visiting your doctor, lawyer, or accountant, every kind of service provider now keeps a virtual file containing all of your personal information. There really is no getting around it; the days of on-paper records are all but obsolete. These days, no matter where you go to receive financial, legal, or health services, chances are the personal data you’re required to provide is stored, accessed, and transmitted in an online environment.

There is no doubt that this virtualization of data has made things more convenient. Sharing information is much easier and gone are the days of having to fax or mail important documents or data to service providers. Because of this, services are often more streamlined and long wait-times have been greatly reduced. While service providers and clients have both reaped the benefits of this innovation, there is a significantly increased risk in storing and transmitting sensitive and confidential data online.

Virtual personal records are an incredibly attractive target for cybercriminals looking to make quick cash from unsuspecting victims. However, as virtualization continues to dominate, it’s highly unlikely that a return to more secure, on-paper personal records will ever be possible or desirable. That’s why we’re putting our experience in cybersecurity to work by helping individuals be more vigilant and proactive about the protection of their data.

Take Data Protection into Your Own Hands: Ask Every Service Provider This Critical Question

When’s the last time you asked your doctor, lawyer, or accountant about their client data security policy? Don’t worry – if you’ve never thought to ask this question, you’re not alone. Most individuals hand over their personal information to trusted service-providers without giving it a second thought.

Unfortunately, however, we hear stories all the time about individuals and organizations who have had their sensitive data hacked or exploited by malicious cybercriminals. But you don’t need to just sit around waiting to be hacked. When armed with the right information, you can take charge of your data security. How? Start by making your concerns known right out of the gate.

It’s really this simple: have an upfront and direct conversation with service providers any time you are required to hand over sensitive data of any kind. This might include the personal information you hand over to a lawyer, the financial information you hand over to a bank or accountant, the health records you hand over to a healthcare provider, or really, the sensitive data you’re required to hand over to any service provider you’re involved with.

We get it. It probably feels daunting or awkward to have a conversation about data security with a doctor, lawyer, or financial advisor. However, it’s absolutely critical that you make sure service providers understand that you take your data security seriously. Further, the conversation doesn’t have to be confrontational or overly complicated.

Try it like this. Anytime you’re working with a service provider who requires your personal data to be stored and transmitted, ask them one simple question before handing over any data: “how are you going to protect my personal and confidential information?” It’s really that simple to keep the lines of communication open. Still not convinced it’s worth the effort? Keep reading to understand why this is so important.

Cybercriminals Are After YOUR Personal Data – What Are Service Providers Doing to Protect It?

Making sure service providers are transparent about how they protect your data is about holding them accountable and mitigating risk. Cybersecurity and data protection is a critical responsibility that rests on the shoulders of any business, organization, or service provider that you work with. Regardless of the industry or the services they provide you, service providers are required to take reasonable measures to ensure client data remains secure.

Service providers are required to maintain strict industry and government compliance standards when it comes to cybersecurity and they must have clear and strict policies in place to protect your information. These policies and compliance standards should be made available to you so you understand exactly what organizations are doing to maintain a secure and compliant data environment.

Wondering why these organizations are so highly regulated and held to high standards when it comes to data security? Check out some of the key reasons why individual data security is such a pressing concern – especially in an increasingly virtual service environment.

Here’s why you need to hold service providers accountable for your data security:

  • Hackers and cybercriminals are getting smarter and savvier than ever before – they are constantly evolving and developing new strategies for getting their hands on the most valuable data in the virtual world.
  • Whereas malicious cybercriminals used to target big organizations for huge payoffs, they’re now realizing that organizations have the resources to invest in durable and multi-layered cybersecurity defenses that are increasingly difficult to penetrate.
  • The result? Cybercriminals are adopting and following the money. They now realize that there’s more success to be enjoyed if individual end-consumers are targeted instead of highly-defended enterprises.
  • This means more and more cybercriminals are trying to use a variety of scams and blackmail attempts to target people like you: consumers who unwittingly hand over personal and confidential data to critical service providers in good faith.
  • Let’s explore what this might look like. Say a cybercriminal hacks into the network for a law firm, doctor’s office, accounting firm, or any other service provider that stores and transmits your personal data. Instead of going after the business itself by trying to penetrate enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions in pursuit of a million-dollar payoff, they’re now focused on targeting the individual clients of these service providers.
  • Why? Largely because they know that it’s much easier to prey on unsuspecting individual victims by blackmailing them with the demand for cash in exchange for promising not to release confidential data. These cybercriminals realize there is a better chance of getting multiple smaller payouts from desperate and frightened individuals instead of one big pay-off from the company that is investing in major resources and training to prevent cybercrime.

Even though service providers may be spending thousands of dollars to bring in expert solutions and protect their own data and business continuity, it doesn’t guarantee that your data is secure. Asking them to explain how your own data will be protected demonstrates that you’re not willing to be the new easy target for the cybercriminals they’re trying to mitigate.

Our Final Word: The Best Weapon Against Cybercrime is Staying Proactively Informed

Most of all, remember to ask every service provider you work with to explain explicitly how they will make sure your data remains secure. You should also ask them to outline their policy for informing clients in the case of a data breach. The more you insist that service providers be transparent about data security, the more seriously they will take the protection of your personal information.

Be on the lookout for red flags. Any service provider who refuses to answer your questions or gives you vague information about their approach to data security should be immediately suspect. The fact of the matter is, in an increasingly virtual environment, there is no room for shortcuts when it comes to data security. If a service provider can’t answer your simple and fair questions, it’s time to find a new lawyer, accountant, healthcare provider, or business partner.

The truth is, your best defense against data theft is to stay consistently over-informed and remain consistently over-prepared. Stay informed and up-to-date on existing threats and check-in with service providers now and then to inquire about data security updates. If you need support or want to learn more about how to prioritize your data security and take it seriously, never hesitate to reach out to a team of cybersecurity consultants for more information and strategies for staying proactive.

Let’s get your data more secure than ever before. Give us a call anytime at (831) 240-4703, drop us a line at inquiries@deveera.com, or visit our website at www.deveera.com to chat with a live agent and book a data security consultation.