How to protect customer data

Anna Sopova

Technological safety is now more important than ever. Just as we spend time improving data security systems, hackers also spend time figuring out new ways to break into them. Data shows, cybercrime is still a big business that brings yearly revenues of around $1.5 trillion. Considering how much information companies have access to, their focus today should be on how to protect customer data. 

No one is more afraid of data leakage than customers. According to research, 79% of US customers are concerned about their data privacy. Businesses should follow special guidelines in order to prevent any personal information from misuse but apart from that, there are some practices that may be helpful here. 

Privacy security protocols 

There are specific protocols known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that state how to deal with collected customer data. The protocols are very strict and this is for the benefit of the clients who are not always happy with how companies handle their information. Nowadays, even sending emails to customers without having their permission is fined. 

Knowing all the legal and financial consequences, it’s best to consider the safety of users’ privacy as the priority in all your actions. If you want to know how to do it well, get familiar with the list below.  

Steps to protect customer data 

Follow them to be sure your company and your customers won’t suffer any inconveniences. 

Collect only what you really need 

By requesting only the necessary information you decrease the chances of data being stolen by hackers. It’s because you lower the value of the potential break into the system. Hackers won’t put all their efforts just to steal some email addresses. They would rather take care of some credit card details, location data, or phone numbers. Obviously, sometimes you do need that information too but then keep in mind it’s more valuable and needs to be secured properly. 

Apply permission-only access

Don’t let everyone from your company access customer data. Increase security measures by choosing only those people who actually need it to perform their job. For example, people who lead marketing campaigns or create a marketing strategy would need that information to set up an automated newsletter. On the other hand, copywriters don’t need this type of data to create content. Limiting access to vulnerable data means there are fewer points of weakness in your company. 

Work on the data management system 

Data security starts by identifying all places where you store the customer’s private information. To protect it, you first need to know what type of data you store, and where. It is also important to know how many people have access to it if you didn’t consider it previously. Now it’s time to collect some information on your side. 

Inform customers about the safety measures

Communication matters. Explain to customers the reason why you need certain information from them and how you will handle it. Make sure they will be provided with access to your privacy policy to read more about this process. Customers are simply afraid of being rubbed. That’s why by showing understanding and sharing transparent documents, you may present your company as a trustworthy one. 

Have a control damage procedure

A good practice is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you know how much valuable data you store in your system, have a backup plan for the possible break-in. Think two steps ahead and design a procedure that would limit the damage and help you to fix the problem almost immediately. Regular testing of your security system may help to understand how it works and create additional barriers of defense. 

Stay up to date with the latest security measures

Regardless of the industry, there’s always a way of protecting customer data in a manner that doesn’t compromise the quality of user experience. Protection doesn’t always mean filling in a dozen of forms to get to an app. By staying up to date with current security advancements you can find a way to keep the data safe and your customers satisfied. Check out the latest safety solution - Phone Number Masking, developed by Apifonica. 

Don’t fall behind with the security standards

Technology is a field of continuous improvement and invention of new powerful features. Everything has to transform once in a while. That means companies need to remember to regularly re-evaluate and update their data privacy policies and strategies. The worst thing you can do is to set up some sort of protection and just leave it like that forever. That’s definitely not the subject to fall behind with.

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