Nowadays, data privacy is one of the most significant concerns of organizations, especially when the data includes confidential pieces of information such as personal data, customers’ financial data, suppliers and employees.
Due to the rapidly increasing significance of data privacy in the business landscape, in this article, we will address why it is necessary for organizations to invest in its compliance, the main risks associated with it and how to minimize them.
Significance of privacy and data protection at the organizational level
Due to the several risks associated with manipulation of databases, companies must invest and increase safeguarding and protection measures for their valuable data. In today’s competitive world, shielding of all the valuable business information should not be left to chance.
In addition, several risks of illegality that can adversely affect the client’s privacy must be taken into consideration. It is among the primary issues that most of the developed countries of the world are addressing on priority via the laws and constitution.
Risks associated with data privacy
Each and every company stores, in addition to its customer files, several documents of its administrative activity that includes invoices, purchase orders, verification of employment, payroll, supplier details, inventories, among others. Large volumes of data are susceptible to hackers, who dedicate time, knowledge, and resources to leak valuable information from companies, challenging even the current regulations on data protection.
Some of the primary risks that personal data faces when its protection is not guaranteed include:
Illegal leaks of financial data
As a vigilant internet user, you must have heard about massive illicit leaks of financial data, such as leakage of approximately 40 million debit and credit card numbers and accounts and passwords of email applications.
Danger of extortion and derision
One of the most notorious report leaks was the leak of 4.4 million medical records from one of the largest health service providers in the United States. Another was the case of the theft of confidential data from an online dating site that puts its 37 million users in possible danger of extortion and derision.
Damage to corporate image
Data theft severely damages the image of organizations, companies or governments, and is even worse for millions of users who are victims of the exposure of personal information, whether public or private.
Generally, such data contains not only details about the identity of the person but also data points that facilitate direct contact, including contact numbers, addresses, personal activity, bank account details and other important details related to their assets.
Morale and self-esteem impairment
Sometimes, a data breach can also include the display of sensitive information, considered as the personal activity of its owner, whose improper use can inversely affect their morale and self-esteem. Such type of sensitive information can include aspects of ethnic origin, affiliation, sexual preferences, health, politics, religion, among others.
How to protect the personal information of customers in the company
For a successful company, it’s an expectation that they must invest in protecting their customers’ personal details and also employ people after ensuring that their verification is done by employment verification companies. This helps them generate customers’ trust, preserve the image of the company, be responsible with decision making and also apply good practices in the world of e-commerce.
Actions to consider for client protection
We can consider data privacy as the set of coordinated actions aimed at the protection of clients and their peace of mind, providing mutual benefits for both the company and the clients. Among several actions related to data privacy, it is important to note the following:
Online reputation and image
Our image on the Internet can be our differentiator. To safeguard it, companies should work on everything that builds the brand image, such as service quality, customer service and compliance with contracts and agreements.
It is recommended to always work with transparency- Customers should be able to make decisions based on the information provided by the company about their product and services in a clear and understandable way, informing them at all times of possible incidents that have arisen.
Service level agreements
SLA or service level agreements are the agreements between a customer and supplier to provide insights into the quality and safety of a project executed over a specific period of time. They must be agreed upon by both parties and should also incorporate cybersecurity points such as:
- Service load limits
- The availability of customer support service
- Response time for resolution of complications
- The modes of access to the service
Communication with customers
Communication with the customers should not be neglected when it is done over digital means. Companies should verify that it is safely commenced over corporate email or official accounts in social media networks, on reliable communication methods, duly encrypting the information exchanged if it is confidential. Customers must be contacted only through the official channels established in the policy of the company, avoiding other unofficial and less reliable methods of communication.
The end goal is to prevent the leakage of information, for which there are various data loss prevention tools available that monitor file movement and complement antivirus and firewalls.
Whatever the size and activity of the company, it must protect customer information, especially if they are involved in e-commerce services. Usually, these companies collect or process customer data such as information on means of payment, shipment or billing addresses, etc. This makes it especially vulnerable since it is sold at a good price over the black market. For these reasons, and because of economic and reputational losses that it may cause to the company, extreme precaution must be taken while implementing measures designed to protect customer data such as:
- Always use https protocols for web pages and payment gateways as a responsible company. This will ensure that all the information is encrypted.
- Always use a valid and up-to-date SSL certificate for all the web pages. This will ensure all the connections to the business website are legitimate.
- Encrypt confidential information that is stored in the web databases.
- Save customers’ details and passwords in the encrypted form and never send them as plain text.
All the sensitive information of your clients must be protected at all times. Follow these recommendations to create and maintain the necessary trust with your customers.