A Brief Guide For Protecting Consumer Privacy

Consumer privacy involves the protection of personal information that a customer provides in business transactions.  With the advent of the Internet, the collection of personal information has become expansive, making consumer privacy a concern to be addressed. 

Unprotected personal information can be used for malicious activities such as identity theft. For instance, a fraudster can phish for a customer’s personal information and use it to withdraw funds from the bank. Thus, this is why consumer credit reports must be protected.  

As an entrepreneur, you have the responsibility to secure that the data your business has collected cannot be used by cybercriminals. If you cannot protect your customer’s privacy, you will lose the trust of your customers. This will lead to dissatisfied customers; some of which may even take legal actions against your company.  

To avoid these consequences, read below for some guidelines you may want to consider to protect your customer’s privacy. 

  1. Get What You Need 

In transacting with your customers, collect only the information your company needs. Having only the necessary details limits the size of your data, making them manageable. 

The greater amount of data you keep, the more you become a target of interest to hackers. A hacker may be less interested if what you have are just the names of your clients. However, if you have their credit card numbers, then your system will more likely be attacked. Cybercriminals are hacking systems to sell whatever information they have stolen. 

Moreover, a customer has the right to know how information is being processed and safeguarded. Some customers are vigilant with the amount of information they share. If they see you’re only collecting vital information, you can gain their confidence. On the other hand, if you’re asking for too much information, they may doubt your motivation for doing so. 

To determine what data you need, you can ask questions like, would this information affect the business process? If not, then you don’t have to gather that information. 

  1. Assign A Data Protection Personnel 

Assign someone who has the sole responsibility of overseeing the collection, storage, and protection of your consumer’s data. If you have personnel in charge, you can assign a focal person to strengthen your information security and act accordingly if problems arise. On top of that, data protection personnel will ensure that only those authorized employees can access your customer’s information.  

  1. Make Your Authentication Procedure More Robust 

Login information is a vulnerable point in your information system. If someone knows your password, they can intrude and modify customer information. Hence, weak passwords such as those you use on multiple accounts are not commendable since they can be deciphered easily. 

To strengthen your authentication procedure, require your employees to have complex passwords. However, if you find complex passwords difficult to remember, you can use password management software to create and save the password for your company. This software tool encrypts data to make sure your passwords are unreadable to intruders. 

  1. Develop A Method Of Managing Your Data 

If you don’t know what to do with data, the tendency is you will store them anywhere. However, not only do fragmented data make consolidation and analysis difficult, but they also lead to a data breach. Information leaks can happen if you lose track of where you store your data. 

To avoid such circumstances, you have to develop your management strategy. Here are some tips on how to do it: 

  • Define your objectives.  
  • Make data protection necessary.  
  • Avoid data duplication.  
  • Employ data recovery and backup system.  

In line with these tips, your management team should also be able to come up with the necessary procedures and methods to answer the following questions: 

  • What are you going to do with your data?  
  • How can you protect your data? What tools can you use to secure your consumer’s information? 
  • Can data be easily updated? Are these data already in proper folders?  
  • If your data is lost, do you have the means to restore them? 
  1. Update Your Software 

To protect yourself from harmful attacks, invest in the latest tools and software for cybersecurity measures.  These tools may include firewalls, web browser extensions, and anti-virus programs. An updated system has improved defenses against malware attacks. As hackers find creative ways to breach security, make sure to upgrade your security protocols so they can handle the attacks. 

Make Security A Culture 

Businesses often collect information from their customers and record them as a profile. In this way, a company knows the needs of the customers and the best way to cater to them. This information is also useful in identifying business trends such as the best-selling product and the peak hours of transactions. 

Thus, you need to build a culture of data security among your employees. By raising awareness of the dangers of disclosing customer information, employees will be informed about the best practices on data privacy. 

Consumer privacy is vital to any enterprise. To build trust among your customers, provide them with a secure business environment for their sensitive information. Remember, creating a culture of security will make the customer satisfied with your product and services. 

June McGown