As commercial interactions become increasingly digital, businesses are finding themselves custodians of rapidly increasing volumes of customer data.
Everything from email addresses and phone numbers to banking details and records of past transactions are being held for extended periods of time. Any failure to properly and securely manage this data can have far-reaching implications.
Care must be taken to ensure data management complies with all relevant legislative requirements. These will govern what can be collected and stored, where it must be stored, and when it needs to be deleted.
Consideration should also be given to what would happen should customer data be compromised or stolen in a cyberattack. How and when should customers be notified? What are the legal implications and what penalties may be imposed?
With these factors in mind, it is vital that businesses ensure they are meeting all compliance requirements when it comes to the collection and management of customer data. It also needs to be noted that these will vary depending on the territory or country within which the business is operating.
There are five key ways in which a business can ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements when managing customer data. They are:
- Identify all compliance regulations:
– Check those that apply in each region in which the business operates
– Ensure systems and processes meet these requirements
– Regularly monitor for any changes
- Obtain customer consent:
– Customers need to agree to the way in which their personal data will be handled.
– Ensure the business has in place the mechanisms to achieve this.
– Offer the chance for customers to opt out of the process
- Implement an audit trail:
– It’s important for a business to have in place processes that can track the location of customer data, when it is shifted, and how it is being used.
– Detailed logging should be available to ensure full auditability of your data
- Beware of the ‘right to be forgotten’
– In some regions, customers have the right for the data to be destroyed once they no longer have a relationship with a business or they have the right to ask an organisatiosn to delete their personal data
– Processes need to be in place to ensure this happens.
- Maintain a focus on data security:
– The most important factor to consider when it comes to managing customer data is maintaining effective security at all times.
– Ensure your organisation maintains audits and tracking to ensure ongoing visibility
– Have a robust policy of alerts and notifications of breaches
– Conduct regular monitoring and reviews
– Drive a culture internally around security
Compliance will continue to be a critical factor when it comes to the proper collection, management, and usage of customer data.
By taking into account these five points, businesses can be confident they are well placed to handle data in the correct manner while also obtaining significant value from it for both themselves and their customers.
See the original guest post by Damian Williams, CTO at n3 Hub on KBI Media here.