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How to Ensure Your Business Customer Data is Secured.

In today’s business environment, data is the most important resource that you can have in your organization. Having access to…

How to Ensure Your Business Customer Data is Secured

25th March 2024

Customer Data

In today’s business environment, data is the most important resource that you can have in your organization. Having access to customer data is a pivotal part of ensuring that you’re able to provide your services effectively, while also allowing you to create intelligent marketing campaigns or finetune your customer service practices. 

However, this also comes with a responsibility. When handling customer data, it’s imperative that you’re able to secure it effectively. This is especially important in the world of GDPR and CCPA, where any customer data breaches can come with a costly fine or other legal punishment. 

So, how can you make sure that your business customer data is secured? Read on to find out more.

Why Is Customer Data Privacy So Important?

From CMMC compliance to GDPR rules, there are many different things that you’ll need to consider when it comes to data privacy and cybersecurity. However, it’s important that you start with the basics: you need to know why data privacy is so important.

First of all, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. When you give permission for a company to use your data, you’re trusting that they’ll be able to keep that data secure. After all, stolen data can be easily used for identity theft or fraud, leaving you open to huge financial losses as well as the stresses and mental health issues that identity theft can lead to.

As a company, you have an ethical responsibility to protect your customers’ data effectively. However, there’s also a more selfish reason to ensure that your organization is implementing strong data privacy policies. That’s because a data breach can have significant consequences for your bottom line.

Over the last decade, new laws and regulations have increased the responsibilities that companies have over any personal data that they collect. Laws such as GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) have made sure that any business in Europe has to follow clear guidelines around data privacy, while similar laws like the CCPA exist in the USA.

If you fail to comply with these regulations, you’ll have to pay a significant fine. Over €4,000,000,000 has been collected in GDPR fines since 2018 – so it pays to ensure that your customer data is protected!

Compliance with these regulations is vital, not just to avoid fines but also to safeguard your reputation and customer trust, especially in the realm of marketing digital products where data utilization is frequent and essential.

Protecting Customer Data: 5 Top Tips 

So you’re now clear why protecting customer data is so important. But how can you practically implement this in your organization? Here are our 5 top tips for data privacy:

1. Only Collect the Most Essential Data

You should never collect data that isn’t a vital part of your workflow. Let’s say that you use an outbound email automation system – the only customer data that you should be collecting for this system would be customer email addresses and any purchase information that you need for personalized marketing.  

Only storing the most essential data will mean that you have less data that you can potentially lose in a data breach, therefore minimizing the risk of a breach. It also helps you to categorize your data, so you can more easily define which bits of data need to be categorized as confidential or restricted. 

2. Have a Clear Data Privacy Policy

A key feature of good data quality management examples is the importance of using a data privacy policy. This should outline every process that you use to manage your data, including who has access to it and how it should be used. This should be communicated across your organization, meaning that all of your employees will understand your policies. 

You should also publish this policy for your customers, so it’s important that you make it as clear and easy to understand as possible. This will increase the transparency of your organization and build trust among your customers. 

Additionally, consider documenting any virtual meetings or interactions involving customer data. For instance, if you hold virtual discussions on Zoom regarding data privacy strategies, ensure that you record on Zoom. This not only helps in maintaining records for compliance purposes but also serves as a reference for internal discussions and training sessions.

Moreover, integrating encryption tools with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system ensures that sensitive customer data stored within your CRM is also protected. This holistic approach to data security adds an extra layer of defense against potential breaches and reinforces your commitment to safeguarding customer information.

Furthermore, incorporating a robust customer feedback strategy into your data privacy initiatives can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement and help in fostering a culture of continuous enhancement in your organization’s data security practices.

3. Use Encryption Tools

When it comes to sensitive data, it’s crucial that you encrypt it. This turns the data into a unique and indecipherable bit of code. In order to decode the encrypted data, you’ll need to have a unique key or passcode – meaning that hackers would be unable to access the data if they breached your firewall. 

You need to make sure that you’re using encryption effectively, which means consistently reviewing which data you believe is sensitive enough to require encryption. You should also make sure that you store keys securely and only allow qualified data managers to access them.

4. Implement Two-Factor Authentication

One of the most effective features of a zero trust approach to security is the use of multi-factor authentication. This means that a password is not enough to access your systems – instead, you’ll have to log in with an additional method, such as through an app on your phone. This means that you can be confident that only trusted users are accessing your accounts and data. 

5. Use Data Audits 

Even if you implement all of these top tips, it’s still possible that issues will go under the radar. This means that it’s crucial that you use regular data audits to examine your organization’s data privacy policies. Think of this like a third party risk management audit – these data audits should leave no stone unturned when analyzing your approach to data security. 

When conducting a data audit, you’ll need to check that features such as encryption and multi-factor authentication are working as intended. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re only collecting essential customer data.

These data audits should take place on a regular basis, meaning that you’re constantly evaluating the strength of your customer data security measures. This is especially important as the world of cybersecurity moves quickly, so you need to be sure that you’re protected against the most up-to-date cyber attack methods.

Keeping Your Customer Data Private and Secure

As an organization, you have a huge amount of responsibility when it comes to customer data. That’s why we put together these top tips for keeping your customer data private, allowing you to be confident in complying with regulations like GDPR.

These top tips include using tools like encryption or multi-factor authentication as well as creating policies and processes, such as using a regular data audit. By implementing these tips in your organization, you can ensure that your customer data is secured. 

Categories: Articles, Franchise

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