How to Protect Customer Privacy

As a partner of the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA), Defendify is excited once again to be an official NCSA Champion of Data Privacy Week. As NCSA Data Privacy Week Champions, our goal is to empower and guide organizations on how to protect customer privacy, as well as to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data.

What is Data Privacy Week?

Data Privacy Week is a global effort to increase awareness and education about protecting personal and organizational data. Initially commemorating the Jan. 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection, Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an spinoff of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. It has since has been extended for a whole week given its importance.

The NCSA is using Data Privacy Week to encourage businesses to “Respect Privacy.” Companies are responsible for keeping individuals’ information safe from unauthorized access and ensuring fair, relevant, and legitimate data collection and processing.

In a Pew Research Center study, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about how companies are using their data. Protecting customers’ data is a smart strategy for growth, enhances reputation, and quite simply- it is good business.

5 Ways to Respect Customer Data Privacy

If you collect it, protect it.

When a customer decides to conduct business with your organization and disclose specific data, the expectation is that you will protect their privacy. As a business, it is your responsibility to only collect data for relevant and legitimate purposes and follow security measures and compliance standards to keep that data safe. If a breach does happen due to lax security practices, your company risks financial loss, a diminished reputation, and a lack of trust from current and future customers.

Adopt a privacy framework.

Build privacy into your company culture and processes by using a security framework such as NIST. Effective cybersecurity is about building an ongoing program with cyber-solid foundation of plans, policies and procedures, a cyber-smart culture or awareness and education, and cyber-strong technology that go beyond traditional tools like antivirus and firewalls.

Conduct an assessment of your data collection practices.

Understanding where your company currently stands is the first step to respecting your consumers’ privacy. By taking a cybersecurity assessment, you can better understand your overall cybersecurity health- which will help you consistently meet customer and government compliance needs in your industry. With a clear view of your cybersecurity health, your business can adequately educate employees on best privacy practices and how to follow industry and governmental guidelines.

Transparency builds trust.

Trust is gained through transparency and clear communication. Consumers should be aware of how their information is obtained, how your organization uses it, and the privacy measures in place to ensure its’ safety. Being a trustworthy company is one of many ways that having a healthy cybersecurity posture can elevate you as an organization and give you a competitive edge.

Maintain oversight over partners and vendors.

If your business grants network access to a third-party vendor or partner, you are legally responsible for how they collect and use your customer’s data. To ensure that these third parties have processes in place to protect their data, ask them to complete a cybersecurity risk assessment. At its core, a risk assessment is a thorough review of the functions, policies, and processes that an organization has in place, either internally or externally, and what risks they introduce to an organization.

More Resources on How to Protect Customer Privacy:

Resources & insights

Blog
Protect Your Data with Data Privacy Awareness Training
As Data Privacy Week Champions, our goal is to empower and guide organizations on ways to protect the privacy of those they do business with.
Get Buy-in for Your New Data Security Policy and Procedures
Blog
Get Buy-in for Your New Data Security Policies and Procedures
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Webinar
Taking Control of Data Privacy & Cybersecurity
Ginny Lee, the Americas Privacy Officer at Cisco, explains how increased data privacy concerns have influenced government regulations, managing a remote workforce, and new technology adoption. Learn how quickly identify data privacy and security risks across all departments, and what’s needed to fill the gaps.

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