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Data Privacy: four things you need to know to offer a safe place for your clients online

The old saying “In God we trust. All others must bring data” couldn’t be more relevant these days. In this generation, data has become the most valuable asset in business — with positive and negative consequences. In Europe, we’ve been protected by the EU General Data Protection Regulations since 2018, and Ireland has its own Data Protection office, aiming to keep our online information safe, and ensuring companies only retain essential information about clients and stakeholders.  

There has been a huge change in how organisations and businesses must deal with their clients’ data. Even in 2020, we had two comprehensive updates in data protection legislation —  the changes in SCA (Strong Customer Authentication) and a new cookie policy. It can be a lot to take in, but here are four vital points you need to know, to make sure your clients feel safe while interacting with your business online. 

  • Data privacy and data security are different things: Let’s start with the most challenging one: data privacy and data security are different — and you need to know these differences if you want to comply with data protection laws. Data privacy focuses on the individual’s rights to know the use of their data collected by companies and organisations. Data security focuses on the safeguards and measures these particular companies and organisations have in place, to prevent unauthorised access to the data collected. When we discuss data privacy, we focus on privacy policies, cookie policies, and anything related to collecting, processing, sharing, archiving, or deleting customers’ information. On the other hand, data security includes access control, encryption, network security and measures to ensure the information that’s collected isn’t stolen or exploited in any way.

  • Investing in data protection guarantees a competitive advantage: Complying with data protection laws can be time-consuming and expensive. But you’ll recover your investment through business growth and a spike in competitiveness. GDPR has also encouraged a culture of digital transformation, inspiring companies to provide better quality data and improve user experience. According to Cisco’s Consumer Privacy Survey, the percentage of organisations saying they receive significant business benefits from privacy has grown from 40% in 2019, to over 70% in 2020. The advantages go from operational efficiency, innovation, investor appeal, brand value, and much more.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation has become vital for the survival of businesses of all sizes. The need to comply with data protection has helped these businesses improve customer experience, revitalise marketing initiatives and get higher quality data from their customers, among other advantages.

  • Customers are willing to pay more and change service providers to protect their privacy: Transparency is a value that no company can afford to ignore nowadays. Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly more cautious when choosing where they want their information stored, and for what exactly. Cisco’s consumer privacy survey shows that 84% of respondents care about their privacy, and they want more control over how companies handle their data. Of this group, 80% also said they are willing to act to protect it, and among privacy-active respondents, 48% indicated that they already switched companies because of their data policies. At this stage, taking care of how your company complies with data protection regulations is a commercial advantage.

  • Get ready to deal with insight threats and network security reviews: Just as 2020 was the year we all learned how to work from home, 2021 will mostly be the year when we’ll learn how to make smart data choices to guarantee security while we’re remote working. When companies of all sizes moved their staff from an office to their houses, this opened up the possibility for an unprecedented breach of network security. These unsecured networks make it easy for malicious actors preying on ignorant users, or internal actors to exploit company information. To prevent these scenarios, organisations must put protocols in place to secure data from insider attacks and promote a company culture that offers job security and employee satisfaction.

We hope our crash course has got you up to speed on current data regulations — but if you still need extra help, contact us today and check what our team can do for you. From advice to guidance, we can review your website to find out how you can be more data-compliant — among other services that will guarantee better results.

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