As online threats grow, protecting customer information matters more than ever.
Hackers broke into travel company data over 1,000 times in 2020, which lost customer trust and cost a lot of money. Companies worldwide now pay an average of $4.45 million to fix each data breach, an all-time high.
With more businesses shifting to the internet and the cloud, companies must take data security very seriously to avoid fines and loss of business when cyber criminals attack.
Data security means protecting a company's private digital information from being stolen or misused. This is important because the data includes things like:
Customer details like names, email addresses, and credit card numbers.
Employee information like social security numbers.
The company's financial records.
If hackers get access to the data, they could:
Steal customer identities and money.
Make the company look bad publicly.
Get the company in legal trouble.
Companies use tools like encryption, firewalls, and access controls to keep data safe. Encryption scrambles info so only authorized people can read it. Firewalls block outsiders from getting into computer systems. Access controls limit the number of employees who can see and use specific files.
Companies also need clear data security policies and clear rules for handling sensitive info. Like requiring strong passwords, reporting breaches quickly, and only letting necessary staff access customer details.
They train employees on threats like phishing emails, suspicious links, oversharing on social media, and losing laptops or phones because human mistakes cause most data breaches.
Many businesses use online booking tools to automate things and make their operations run smoothly. These booking systems offer handy features that let users easily schedule stuff online. These booking tools help industries grow by allowing customers to plan and pay for services online. It's worth exploring some of the top industries that have benefited from implementing these handy booking plugins that customers love to use.
The healthcare industry is one of the leading industries that use booking systems. Over 50% of healthcare facilities now let patients book appointments online. With their busy environment, we know how helpful it is to visit the website and schedule an appointment. They won’t need to answer phone calls or emails.
Online reservations allow restaurants to seat more guests by better managing demand. Customers can book tables themselves instead of calling or walking in. In addition, online scheduling tools can be used to track if a customer is eligible for promotions or loyalty programs.
Scheduling software helps event planners organize all the moving parts: DJs, caterers, venue staff, etc. It provides oversight of all the personnel and suppliers. They don’t have to go around tons of tiresome paperwork.
Booking software allows customers to schedule callbacks and support calls themselves. This avoids over-scheduling for call center staff. It also helps customers to avoid a long hold on the phone.
Scheduling tools help nonprofits manage volunteers, paid employees, and external stakeholders more efficiently, saving time and resources.
Accountants, lawyers, etc., use self-scheduling to offer more flexibility for client meetings. Automation is particularly useful for booking initial consultations and meetings during non-working hours. Customers can book timeslots that work for both parties.
Plumbers, HVAC companies, and other home services allow online booking of at-home appointments. It is helpful because customers can book or cancel an easy-access at-home service on their mobile phone whenever and wherever they are.
Scheduling software helps schools manage things like office hours, lab time, library space, etc. It's useful for both professors and students to organize their educational assets.
Massage therapy clinics and spas use booking systems. Customers can browse available appointment times online and book a massage instantly. It provides convenience for both establishments and customers who may check different places to check availability or walk-in waits.
The tourism industry makes money from hotels, inns, and travelers. Tour companies can schedule tours and activities more quickly when they know when a group of tourists will arrive and leave.
By having the tourists' arrival and departure details, the tour company can plan things to ensure a fabulous time and make memories they'll never forget.
Keeping your customers' personal information safe and secure is essential if you run a business that takes bookings and appointments online. Here are some tips:
Experts say every account should have a unique password with many numbers, capital letters, and symbols. This makes them harder to guess. Also, consider setting up a “two-step login" using codes sent to people's phones to verify they are trying to access the account.
When saving credit card numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and other personal info in your system, use encryption so the data is scrambled and useless to hackers. Popular booking tools have built-in encryption features.
Developers constantly release security patches. You stay ahead of the bad guys exploiting weaknesses by updating your booking systems and apps as soon as new software arrives.
Many data breaches happen due to employee mistakes. Train your team on best practices for safeguarding customer information and what to watch out for with phishing emails and texts attempting to steal passwords.
Have an action plan ready in case of a cyberattack to notify customers, withstand downtime, restore data, and get back to business ASAP if hackers ever get through. The faster you respond, the less damage is done.
Booking systems should follow a few best practices to ensure customer data stays secure. Taking steps like these shows customers their info is secure. So, booking businesses can offer easy online scheduling while building user trust.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.