You know that data is one of the most critical and powerful assets of your business. It is collected every time a customer avail of your services or products. In fact, you even considered it to be its lifeblood.
You use data to run your business operations efficiently, analyze the purchasing behavior and decisions of your customers, and trends in the market and derive strategies from it to expand and scale your biz. And as your business grows, the amount of data you have gets overwhelmingly big. You are starting to lose your mind on how you will handle the increasing data your business has and remain ethical and compliant with existing policies and regulations on data privacy.
That’s why you need a data protection system that will help you and your business keep and safeguard vital and sensitive information about your company and customers. But how?
Fret not! In this article, you will deeply understand why data protection programs are important and learn some practical techniques, tools, and steps on how you can effectively implement them.
What is Data Privacy? Why does it Matter?
In running your business online, you collect information from your customers and clients by providing them with the services and products they bought from you or using it as a future reference for developing new products, tracking buyer spending habits, personalized shopping experiences, and other marketing purposes. But behind these data are real people who have identities and lives that could be at risk if their sensitive information ends up in the wrong hands.
So the question is, what rights do your clients and customers have when it comes to their privacy? As a business owner, how can you preserve their trust and protect their safety? That’s where data privacy and security comes in.
Data Privacy has encompassed the procedures and regulations that govern how your company gathers, distributes, and utilizes data collectively. State or federal rules that are relevant to organizations in a particular industry are frequently the driving force behind data privacy.
Data Security, on the other hand, guards against unauthorized access to and harmful use of your company’s data. Data security varies from business to business and is based on the quantity and nature of the data being gathered and stored. A foolproof data protection program must consider both data privacy and security. You will have incomplete software that leaves you open to attacks or expensive errors if you don’t have both of them in place.
So, why does Data Privacy matters? Now, more than ever, customers are concerned about their privacy. They don’t want to give their information to businesses that can sell it. They are seeking businesses that respect the privacy of their data as a result. So it is important to think of them when handling their data. Every company has connections to other service providers. Data privacy is more than just a clause in your terms and conditions. It affects your customer relationship and can hugely affect your company’s reputation and brand value.
The majority of businesses believe that data privacy is merely a precaution. However, it is also your company’s best strategic opportunity. By safeguarding your customer data, you can expand your brand. As a result, it is an opportunity of growth for small businesses. Even big companies can take advantage of this chance to outperform their competitors. You can acquire your rivals’ clients if they are protecting the data of their users.
What is GDPR?
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to protect the data of real people, like me and you. It is intended that each individual be allowed to decide for themselves what personal information about them can be gathered, saved, and processed, as well as who does it and when.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects every aspect of your business – whether big or small or just you. The GDPR was developed to tighten and harmonize data protection for all citizens by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission. In essence, it’s a system of standards that provides everyone more control over their personal data.
As a business owner, it’s important to get in line with GDPR along with your efforts for data privacy and data security program. Firstly, to give your customers confidence that their data is in safe hands. Secondly, failure to comply could leave you with legal action and a nasty file. One of the areas where GDPR has had the most influence is marketing. This is due to the fact that it is now prohibited to contact past, present, or even potential clients using their personal information. Like using their private email addresses without their consent.
Imagine you are sending your mailing list, a marketing email. Everyone in your database must have expressly agreed to receive this content in a clear way that is supported by a clear affirmative action. Because they have worked with you in the past, you cannot presume they want to receive emails from you or immediately add them to your mailing list. The best way to gain consent is to create an opt-in form. You’ll need to specify clearly how you’re going to utilize their information, for instance, sending marketing emails and any unprotected options on the form. Customers must therefore manually click the opt-in box. There’s no need to worry though, many of them will.
After you send emails to the people who really want to receive it, It’s crucial to take a close look at how you’re storing those people’s personal data. After all, you don’t want any information to be misplaced, taken, or viewed by anyone who shouldn’t have access to it, like hackers. In order to determine where breaches might occur, you must consider your risks, based on GDPR’s integrity and confidentiality factor. Create plans or policies to secure the storage of your data. In order to transform this data into a code that only you understand, it must be replaced with data that contains artificial information rather than data that may be used to identify specific individuals.
Make sure your systems and services are safe enough to maintain confidentiality while enabling you to swiftly retrieve the data you require in the event something goes wrong. Assess the success of your efforts and make any necessary improvements. Additionally, you must ensure that only authorized people may access personal information because it is no longer permitted to maintain personal information across various programs or devices. Your clients have consented, and their information is securely preserved.
Amazing! But what if they decide they don’t want to hear from you? Additionally, if the personal information you have on the changes or becomes outdated? Or if they want certain information deleted from your systems?
Everyone you come in contact with has the right to be forgotten under GDPR. In essence, it is your duty to make sure that your clients and prospects may readily access their data and have it deleted from your systems if they want. An unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails or a link to the user’s profile, where they can update their preferences can do this.
Data Protection Programs and Its Importance
Any organization that gathers, handles, or maintains sensitive data must have a data protection strategy in place. An effective approach can lessen the effects of a breach or disaster and prevent data loss, theft, or corruption.
Data protection is not just about backup – it is about safeguarding data integrity and ensuring the availability of data for your business when you need it. A key component of a data security plan is making sure that data can be restored fast after any loss or damage. Other crucial aspects of the data security program include preserving data privacy and safeguarding data against any compromise.
A data or information protection program is a set of strategies and procedures you can use to safeguard the confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of your data. In a digital world, it is also about supporting your business by protecting your information storage systems. You have a wide range of storage and management options when it comes to protecting your data. You can use solutions to control access, keep an eye on activities, and deal with threats.
5 Steps to An Effective Data Protection Program
Step 1: Describe Sensitive Data and Comprehend Data Life Cycle
You’ve already gotten thousands of data on your plate and it does not mean everything is worth keeping because it would just be too costly for you and your business. That’s why it is important first to define which data are sensitive and need to be protected. These data are the ones that could hurt your biz monetarily or harm your brand’s reputation. As well as understand how these data are collected, stored, used, shared, and destroyed. In order to know the level of protection, it needs depending on the point it currently is.
Step 2: Identify Data Privacy Regulations and Authorized People to Sensitive Data
Knowing the policies and corresponding laws your data needs to comply is also necessary. And then you decide who are the people in your company will have the access to these sensitive data.
Step 3: Educate Employees and Implement Regular Backups
You must involve all of your employees in the responsibilities attached to specific roles. They must all understand that their action toward sensitive information can directly impact the success of the company. Along with this, you must implement backups in different ways. Such as cloud-based, external storage, or physical locations.
Step 4: Document Process and Inventory of Your Data
It is important that your clients know how you use their information, that’s why you must document your process of utilizing their data. As well as take an inventory of these data so you can quickly locate these sensitive data at your disposal.
Step 5: Organize and Automate Data Protection
In order to successfully comply and protect data, you must organize it based on the level of importance of the data. It can be either public, private, confidential, or restricted.
And of course, in today’s fast-paced and digital world, it’s hard and impossible to do it all by hand. That’s why you need to automate your data protection programs in order to let maintain the accuracy of these data. You can also retrieve and locate data much easier and faster with automation software.
Data Protection Program Popular Techniques and Tools
Listed below are some of the common technologies used in implementing data protection programs for your business:
1. Data Discovery
Finding out which data sets are critical, and which contain sensitive data that might be subject to compliance rules is the first step in data protection.
In the event that the original data is lost, damaged or destroyed—whether intentionally or unintentionally—backups are a crucial method for maintaining business operations.
A method for routinely copying data from a secured system to another place. This offers a continuously updated copy of the data, enabling quick failover to the copy in the event that the primary system fails.
4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Is a collection of techniques you can employ to stop data from being misplaced, lost, or unintentionally erased. Numerous strategies for preventing and recovering from data loss are frequently included in data loss prevention solutions.
Tools that make it possible to watch and filter network traffic. This can be used to guarantee that only approved users are permitted to view or move data.
Uses an algorithm to change the content of the data, which an encryption key is required to undo. Even if data is taken, encryption prevents unwanted access by rendering it unreadable. The data encryption guide has more information.
7. Authorization and Authentication
Controls that make it easier to check user credentials and make sure that user privileges are applied properly.
8. Data Erasure
By erasing data that is no longer required, responsibility is reduced. When data is no longer pertinent, this can be done either periodically or after the data has been processed and analyzed. It is required under GDPR to dispose of superfluous data.
9. Disaster Recovery
Set of procedures and tools that control how a company responds to a disaster, such as a cyber-attack, a natural disaster, or a significant equipment breakdown. Setting up a remote disaster recovery site with backups of protected systems and transferring activities to those systems in the event of a disaster are common steps in the disaster recovery process.
That’s it! Finally, you can get the peace of mind you’ve longed for in your growing business. Make sure to start putting these techniques and steps into practice and continue to earn the trust and respect of your valued customers and clients.