As the world continues to get more digital, data will only become more valuable to both consumers and businesses. This is why businesses and cybercriminals are trying to get their hands on as much data as possible.
As a result, we’ve seen large corporations being sued for data usage and data breaches becoming regular headlines. Privacy is becoming a growing concern for consumers which has pushed Governments to put in place more protection such as GDPR (Global Data Protection Regulation).
So, as a business, what can you do to become more privacy-aware and why does it matter?
Keep reading to find out.
Privacy vs Security
These words, especially in terms of data, are used interchangeably. The problem is that although they can often be related, they are two very different things.
Privacy is defined as having control over your personal data and how it is used.
Security refers to the protections and procedures that are put into place to ensure that your data is kept safe from unauthorised access.
Let’s use your home as an example. Security is doing things like locking your windows and doors whenever you leave the house and perhaps installing a security system. Privacy is only choosing certain people to invite into your home.
The difference between the two is important to remember as a business because simply putting security in place isn’t enough to guarantee privacy. You need a healthy balance of both.
Now that we’ve cleared this up, let’s talk about how you can be more privacy-aware as a business.
Share your customer’s concerns
The first step is to be empathetic to your customers and understand their concerns. Take a moment to think how you would feel if your confidential data was leaked or shared without your consent and what this could mean for you.
It’s fair to assume that you wouldn’t feel great about it and that your customers would share the same feelings.
If you approach privacy with this mindset, you’ll be able to make decisions that will better protect your customers and your bottom line.
Regularly review your privacy policies and practices
When it comes to your current privacy policies and practices, it is essential that you are legally compliant. Failing to do so could lead to serious consequences, such as heavy fines.
These laws can also change, so it’s important to be review these regulations on a regular basis. Should you need to make changes, do so as quickly as you can.
If you needed, you can hire an internal or external data compliance expert to assist you.
Only ask for the data you need
Having a large amount of data on your customers can be beneficial in some instances; it can allow you to create more personalised campaigns and activities, but is this really necessary?
The best-case scenario is for you to deliver the best experience possible with as little information as possible. In doing so, you’ll be able to gain the trust of your customers and make your job easier. The less data you have, the easier it will be to protect it.
Only Work with Vendors that share your values
Working with external clients is a must for many businesses. To keep your customers safe, however, you need to know that your vendors value privacy as much as you do.
Take the time to speak to your current vendors about their current data privacy policies to ensure that they are in line with yours. If you plan on working with new vendors, put agreements in place to ensure that your customers are protected.
Put protections in place
This is where the lines between privacy and security can blur a little. Start by ensuring that you have taken robust cyber security to protect from data breaches and leaks. This could include password protection, malware protection, firewalls, two-step authentication, encryption, VPNs, and other pieces of software.
The next step is to train your staff on the current privacy laws and their responsibility in protecting your customers. Poor passwords and inappropriate use of data can put you and your customers at risk, so be sure they understand their role in maintaining privacy standards in your business.
Lastly, we recommend having a breach action plan in case of the worst. Sometimes the response to a breach can be just as bad – if not worse – than the breach itself. So, create a plan and revisit it regularly to ensure that is as effective as it can be.
Be Transparent to build trust
Transparency is essential for establishing trust, especially when it comes to your customers. Start by being honest about the data that you collect, why you collect it, and what it will be used for you. If you want to change this, make your customers aware of this too.
It also helps to share your views on privacy to demonstrate that it is as important for you as it is for your customers. Make sure to share any steps you’ve taken for privacy protection too!
Privacy is Good for Business
89% of consumers are concerned about how secure their data is and how it is being used. This means that trust is incredibly important in today’s market. If you can prove that you are trustworthy, then you’ll not maintain your current customer base, you’ll find it much easier to gain new customers too!