Recently, Target’s computers were hacked and more than 40 million customers had their private information at risk and at the hands of criminals – including full credit card numbers. When this happens to such a large corporation like Target, Zappos or Sony – who would seemingly have controls in place – it’s easy to fear that it could happen to your business, too.

No matter how small of a business you run, if you collect sensitive information from customers – like credit card numbers to take orders – it’s critical that you protect your back-end and customers from falling prey to hackers. While it can be a PR disaster for a company like Target, it can be a death sentence for a small company.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself, your customers and your business:

  1. Hire only professionals: Ensure that when you’re building your website’s back-end, shopping cart and e-commerce systems that
  2. If you don’t need it, don’t take it: Only provide access to employees who absolutely need the sensitive information and put expiration dates on their access. Streamline your data storage and purge the data once the need for it it has expired.
  3. Test it out: To test your system’s vulnerability, you may try simulating attacks using security awareness software
  4. Change it up: Require employees to change passwords quarterly.

Your customers trust you to protect their sensitive information, so by taking the above precautions, you will have more peace of mind knowing that their information is safe in your hands.