Consumers are demanding greater data protection – can you meet it?

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Consumers aren’t shy about defending their data privacy rights. The growing demand for greater digital awareness and brand protection presents an opportunity for your business.

The only way to achieve benefits is to invest in measures to gain and maintain public trust. A 2023 Deloitte survey found that “67% of smartphone users worry about data security and privacy on their phones, and 62% of smart home users worry about the same thing on their smart home devices – respectively in increase of 13 and 10 percentage points compared to 2022″. .”

These numbers indicate that the majority of consumers are aware that their digital lives could be hacked and are actively concerned about this possibility.

By understanding this, your company can help reassure customers and earn their loyalty by treating all incoming data as valuable. This will allow you to position your company competitively and stay at the forefront of data privacy regulations. Here are some data privacy best practices to consider.

Related: Why data privacy is key to building consumer trust in marketing

1. Establish internal data privacy governance rules and processes

In addition to understanding the data privacy regulations that apply to your organization and industry, it’s important to establish internal rules and processes. Having a set of guidelines ensures that you take all necessary measures to protect your data from attacks. However, not all cyber attacks and breaches come from external sources. They come from internal sources such as employees, vendors and others who access your systems.

According to a 2023 Insider Threat Report, nearly three-quarters of companies reported having internal data vulnerabilities. Your team’s role is to identify vulnerability gaps and address them. For example, you may want to explore ways to provide limited access to specific employees. Does every employee need access to all customer data? Probably not.

Improving data visibility within your organization can reduce the risk of insider attacks. Additionally, implementing stringent measures is something you can highlight on your website to demonstrate to potential leads and customers that you are doing everything you can to safeguard the personal information they provide.

2. Close remote work-related data privacy gaps

Companies of all sizes have begun to adopt remote and hybrid work. However, they haven’t necessarily aligned their data privacy practices with work-from-anywhere arrangements for employees. The result? Many well-intentioned remote workers are putting their companies’ data at risk.

When working on a device outside the network, they could unintentionally expose data in numerous ways. For example, they might use public, unsecured Wi-Fi or download private files to a personal device. These daily activities may seem inconsequential, but they open the door to cyber criminals. A report from Malwarebytes Labs suggests that around 20% of all data breaches can be attributed to lax remote data privacy governance rules.

This doesn’t mean you should bring everyone back to the office. It simply means that you need to pay special attention to the risks that arise from a remote or partially remote workforce. Some of the best practices that have worked for other companies include purchasing remote equipment for all remote workers, setting up a secure VPN for accessing systems, and providing ongoing training on data privacy best practices. You might also consider presenting a quarterly award plaque and accompanying stipend to a remote team member who consistently follows the guidelines to highlight your commitment to compliance and to reward those who adhere to the rules.

Related: Redefining customer engagement in a world where data privacy reigns

3. Develop a data breach response plan

The last thing a leader wants is to suffer a data breach event that impacts their customers. However, it’s much worse if you have an event and aren’t sure what to do during the critical early hours and days. As a result, we recommend working with your marketing, PR, and IT teams to develop a comprehensive data breach response plan. The plan will serve as a roadmap to ensure a rapid, responsible and secure response after a data breach.

Your crisis management plan should include a strategy for announcing the data breach. Before making any announcements, make sure all vulnerabilities are closed and your data is safe. Then talk to the authorities. It is critical to adhere to all necessary rules and expectations before sending notification letters to customers whose data may have been exposed to malicious actors.

As of 2021, Venture Beat reported that approximately two-thirds of small businesses had not created any formal incident response documents. Having a plan in place gives your company the ability to appear professional and responsible in the event of a data threat. You will avoid the helpless feeling of “what do we do now?” and have a greater chance of retaining customers.

Even if your company is in the startup phase, you can never be careful enough with your data. Consumers trust you when they provide their information. Make sure you do everything you can to prevent it from being exposed.

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