Customer Data Privacy Best Practices for Your Business

Your data protection strategy is certainly an ongoing multi-pronged objective but with the new year — and Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28 — many business owners are assessing the safeguards they have in place.

Data Privacy Day, created by the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), will now be a week-long awareness campaign, running Jan. 21-28.

“We think data privacy should be a priority both for individuals and organizations,” the NCSA says on its website. “Our goal is twofold: we want to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and we want to help organizations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.”

“Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation,” the NCSA explains.

The organization points to research from the Pew Research Center that indicates 79 percent of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies.

“By being open about how you use data and respecting privacy, you can stand out from your competition,” the NCSA says.


Defining Data Privacy vs. Protection vs. Security

Data privacy involves the policies and processes you have in place to dictate how your business collects, shares, and uses data, explains a post by Hyperproof.

Any privacy breach can lead to data security issues. To avoid such, measures need to be put in place take to protect the integrity of the data itself against manipulation and malware, says an article by TechTarget. Data security, it says, provides defense from internal and external threats.

Data protection is the process of safeguarding important information from corruption, compromise, or loss, explains the article by three TechTarget staff editors.

Issues with data security might arise from any privacy breach. According to the TechTarget article, to prevent this, safeguards must be put in place to protect the integrity of the data itself against tampering and infection. Data security requires defense against both internal and external dangers data security.

“The importance of data protection increases as the amount of data created and stored continues to grow at unprecedented rates,” they write.

An article by the Federal Trade Commission, which offers a guide to businesses about data security, outlines five principles of a sound data security strategy.

First, be aware of what personal information you have in your files and on your computers; Keep only what you need for your business; Protect the information that you keep; Properly dispose of what you no longer need; and finally, create a plan to respond to security incidents.


The Personal Data You Keep

The personal data at your company probably consists of identifying information about clients and suppliers, including credit card numbers, as well as sensitive information about your personnel, like Social Security numbers and other personal data.

According to the FTC, "This information is frequently required to fulfill orders, make wages, or carry out other essential company tasks." However, if sensitive data is misused, it may result in fraud, identity theft, or other problems.

A security breach of course can impact your business in several ways, including losing your customers’ trust and perhaps even result in legal actions.


Managing Data Privacy At Your Business

While some companies may have data protection expertise in-house, others seek an outside contractor to help monitor data privacy and security.

Business owners needing to seek outside expertise should look for a business service provider that offers support and data security expertise best suited for their type of business and data protection strategy.

One solution is Sparklight Business Managed Services, which provides expert IT specialists who enforce control policies, analyze traffic, and can provide rapid detection against attacks. They are available 24/7 to adjust your network permissions and address security concerns.



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