Small businesses that misuse data or fall victim to breaches not only risk financial loss, but also reputational damage.
A study from Gigya showed that 69% of consumers have reservations about brands handling their personal information, while nearly half of UK firms were affected by a data breach in 2017.
By failing to implement sufficient mechanisms to protect customer data, companies not only risk incurring financial loss by having to pay hefty fines and mitigate damage caused by breaches, but they also risk reputational damage.
Facebook, for instance, has been criticised for taking a lacklustre approach to data privacy after it was discovered that that the social media site somehow let marketing firm Cambridge Analytica gain unauthorised access to an estimated 87 million user accounts.
With the compliance deadline for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018, most firms should be considering what they can do to boost and improve their data protection procedures and prevent breaches.
Customer trust is paramount for small businesses
As the compliance deadline for the GDPR looms, firms have increasingly been exploring ways they can improve their security mechanisms. Businesses that fail to adhere to the law face having to pay up to €20m in fines.
Such a sum of money would be damaging for most firms, but reputational damage would be more catastrophic to companies. Consumers put their faith in firms that conduct good data practice.
Businesses must be more transparent at disclosing not only policies and terms and conditions, but exactly how the data will be used. They need to be more specific in terms of what data is being collected and detail the intended use. Many companies are asking customers for their permission to harvest data, but opt-in mechanisms are vague.
Consumers are becoming more aware about data privacy concerns, mainly because of news headlines. A key example is the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica debacle.
Data protection is a constant operation
Many businesses are failing to implement appropriate mechanisms to protect this information.
Personal data is considered to be one of the most sensitive categories of data an organisation has access to, and perhaps it is the most valuable. As the value of personal data increases, so should the controls needed to protect it.
Personal data should be processed only with clear consent given by the data owner, with a transparent agreement and an organisation-wide focus on preventing data theft or misuse.
To identify misuse, firms should constantly analyse their businesses procedures and operations to ensure they are compliant with the latest data protection safeguards. Firms should not assume that once they have installed or developed a system to protect customer data, they have nothing else to do.
With the GDPR compliance deadline looming, UK organisations should be in the final stages of educating their workforce and deploying the appropriate technology to manage the large swathes of information they hold.
As masses of devices continue to connect to the internet, it is clear companies will have access to an ever-growing amount of data. If they put the right data protection and management mechanisms in place, they can gain a lot of potential from customer information. But without sufficient safeguards, the risks will keep on growing and firms could find themselves in all sorts of trouble.
So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a phising data cyber incident with affordable, live systems protection please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page NOW