Best Practices for Maintaining Client Confidentiality


Best Practices for Maintaining Client Confidentiality

In certain professions, such as the law field and healthcare industry, maintaining every client's confidentiality is a legal requirement. Even if you don't face that legal restriction, you may want to promise confidentiality to your clients or customers as a means of engendering trust. In either situation, these practices can help you maintain stricter control over who has access to client information.

Close Down the Gossip Mill

The first thing you should do is ensure everyone on your staff is going to be tight-lipped as they will also have to interact with your clients. The best solution to this challenge is to ensure every employee, including yourself, signs a comprehensive NDA (non-disclosure agreement). If you use professional legal transcription services in the office, those third-party professionals should have to sign a similar agreement. This ensures all of the personnel who work in your office are aware of the need for confidentiality, and the use of the agreements will also show them that you take your guarantee of privacy seriously. Make sure your employees understand that the NDA extends to text messages and social media posts as well as to barroom gossip.

Use a Two-Step Protocol For Digital Storage

From commercial businesses to small law firms, almost everyone is making use of cloud technology to store important and sensitive documents. In addition to helping you store documents without requiring vast amounts of physical space, cloud technology allows you to limit who is authorized to view private documents. To enhance the security of your cloud account, you should be utilizing a two-step cybersecurity protocol. The first step is to require employees to use a VPN (virtual private network) anytime the cloud account is accessed. The second step is to ensure the cloud account is protected by a password that's changed once every 30 days. These steps will lower your risks of a data breach.

Limit Access to Hard Copies

Under certain circumstances, it will be necessary to print hard copies of some documents. As a rule, you should only print documents when it's absolutely necessary to reduce the chance that an unauthorized individual will accidentally be exposed to that information. Once the document has been used as intended, it should either be incinerated or shredded to prevent others from viewing the information. The blank sides of sensitive documents should never be reused as a means of saving paper.

Keep It Personal

Even though it may be more convenient to communicate with a client via email or text message, you should avoid using technology to share sensitive information. Just as celebrities have been hacked and had their personal messages and photos shared with the world, your clients' confidentiality can also be exposed in a similar fashion. Emails and text messages can be used to verify appointments, but, otherwise, communication should be made in person. In the current technological age, even a phone call may be overheard or recorded without either party's knowledge.

Always Conduct Background Checks

Before you hire anyone new, be sure to conduct background checks. In addition to checking out a candidate's criminal and credit history, it may be important to look into their personal history. Especially if you're an attorney, someone who is working for your opponent may be trying to gain access to your records. Alternatively, a disgruntled employee may offer to sell data to an unethical competitor. To prevent that situation, you should ensure all access authorizations and keys are either canceled or returned upon an employee's termination or departure.

Maintaining confidentiality will work for you as a marketing tool as well as helping your clients stay safe. As your clients learn that they can trust you to maintain their privacy, they will recommend you to their friends and co-workers. Over time, you'll earn a positive reputation for providing discretion and confidentiality, which can help you rise above your competitors.

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