As a dealer involved with technology, you probably spend a fair amount of time thinking about your customer data and how to keep it safe. Your customers trust you with their financial records, credit histories, business information and more.
You’ve probably invested time and money in establishing firewalls and SOPs to ensure that their data and records are safeguarded. But there are some unexpected ways that information can get into the wrong hands, and it’s a good idea to put some time and effort into preventing these less-obvious data breaches.
A lot of small businesses feel like family and so people may not think twice about talking openly about where they were or what they saw on a given day. But let’s say your employee sees some yield information while riding in a cab on a farm visit and then later goes to another farm and talks about what they’ve seen.
According to attorney Todd Janzen, “They’re breaching the first farmer’s confidentiality. It’s very easy for that sort of thing to happen in a nonchalant way.”
Or suppose you have an employee who has to transfer some information from one place to another and writes things down on a sticky note as an interim step. Maybe that sticky note gets into the wrong hands or is simply seen by someone who’s not supposed to see it.
It might not seem like a big deal, but if the customer whose data was compromised finds out, “the reputational damage to your company would be much worse than the actual damage that happens as a result of the breach, says Janzen.
Another source of data breaches that people don’t always consider is the collection point. If something goes into the wrong silo, your business could accidentally upload data to the wrong place.
This most often happens when transferring machinery from one owner to another and the data doesn’t get deleted from the machine. Then, when the data gets uploaded to the new account, the new owner gets the data from the previous owner, giving them insights they shouldn’t have access to.
The good news is that these problems can largely be addressed through employee training. Says Janzen, “It’s very difficult to find time to talk with employees about this, but it definitely is important to at least touch on these issues once per year.”