Businesses use consumer data to understand their customers’ needs and improve relationships.
However, businesses should be aware that customers trust them to keep their data safe, and year after year customers’ interest in data safety grows.
This growing interest has seen many customers become more intentional about the personal information they share with businesses.
Moreover, consumers are also taking steps to understand and learn about privacy policies, consent management, and other issues related to data privacy.
Because of the growing awareness of customer privacy issues, organizations have to do better when it comes to data and customer privacy.
To help ensure your customers’ information is safe, here are a few measures your company can take.
1. Store the Data Safely
A crucial way of ensuring your customers’ data is safe is to store it safely.
Poor data storage increases the risk of it being accessed by people with malicious intent. Having a modern data infrastructure is one way to ensure data safety.
Additionally, putting in place data security measures such as Virtual Private Network (VPN), data encryption, and two-factor authentication can help keep the data safe.
2. Be In Full Control of Your Data
Consumers are becoming more interested to know how online organizations such as Google and Amazon use their data. Proper control of consumer data leads to the correct utilization of the data.
Your organization will collect lots of customer data, but not everyone should access it. The organization needs to manage the people who can access the data. This protects the data from purposeful or accidental misuse.
Control also relates to your ability to limit users’ access to sensitive data parts. You also need to have complete control when it comes to deleting data that is no longer in use.
To make it easier to control the use of your data, have a modern infrastructure that makes it easier to monitor the data every time, everywhere.
3. Adhere to your Customer Privacy
Consumer data is powerful, and organizations may be enticed to use it maliciously.
However, remember your data points represent real people and disregarding their privacy may put their lives at risk.
Organizations that share data with third parties should be careful to ensure that the data they share doesn’t land in the wrong hands. To protect the privacy of their customers, organizations can remove all PII from the data before sharing.
Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that can be linked to the data owner. Some PII examples include:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Passport number
- Bank account number
- Social media handle
- Social security numbers
The use of features such as de-identifying and data masks can allow for data collaboration without exposing your customers’ identities.
Further, organizations should be careful about the data they share. Confidential and sensitive information can be used for all kinds of harm if it lands in the wrong hands.
To prevent such happenings, companies should have an infrastructure that allows for the sharing of such data without the need to copy or move it.
4. Be More Transparent with Your Customers
Consumer awareness is growing on the amount of data that organizations collect and how they’re using it. The result is that more consumers are concerned about the safety of their data.
It has become harder for customers to trust that their data will be protected and used appropriately.
This concern has seen even governments get involved in data privacy issues. For instance, the EU has come up with the General Data Protection Regulation to protect the use and security of consumer data.
The regulation requires companies located in the EU to be transparent when it comes to collecting and using consumer data.
Being transparent with your customers will not only help you comply with data privacy regulations, but you will also earn their trust.
5. Adhere to Data Privacy Regulations
Customer data privacy is a serious issue with legal repercussions. Get familiar with the laws and regulations that pertain to data privacy and adhere to them.
Some of the most common consumer data privacy regulations and laws are explained below:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
This law applies to all organizations and persons with access to private data in the EU. The law requires that you be transparent in your data collection.
You must also collect a minimal amount of data to serve your needs. Organizations are also expected to keep their customers’ data accurate and up to date.
The organization should also have proper security measures to ensure confidentiality and integrity of data and not store data once it has served its intended purpose.
According to this law, data handlers are also accountable in case of any breaches.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
This law gives California citizens four rights that relate to the collection and use of their data. They have a right to know when businesses collect their data and how it’s used and shared. Individuals also have a right to delete personal data that organizations collect.
The residents also have a right to opt out of the sale of their data. Lastly, they have a right against discrimination if they choose to exercise the above rights.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA is a law related to medical data privacy. Organizations or individuals that handle medical data are expected to adhere to the guidelines of this law. This law helps control the access and use of individuals’ medical data.
In closing, every organization has a legal and moral obligation to protect their customers’ data. Adhering to the above measures will help your company uphold the safety and privacy of your customers’ data.