Businesses in the past may have been able to get away with being irresponsible stewards of their customer data, but no longer. Today, you could face lawsuits or bad press that could cost your company millions if your customer data is inadvertently shared with others or a rogue actor is able to gain access to your databases. Even something as innocuous as an email or a name is important data that must be protected, and it extends to pretty much anything that you collect on your users or their behavior.
Why You Need a Customer Data Management Strategy
A customer data management strategy is important today because there are so many avenues to lose track of that data. Not only are there hackers and others that may be actively trying to break into your systems, but you also have to worry about people stumbling onto important data caches such as with your website or information that you may use internally.
If that information becomes public, you can be subject to fines, lawsuits and other bad press that could end up jeopardizing your entire business. It can also depend on your state as businesses in certain states have additional requirements that can lead to significant non-compliance fines and other difficulties if a data breach occurs.
How Do Companies Protect Customer Data?
- First and foremost, companies engage in secure customer data management by only collecting the data they need. Sure, you might be able to document an infinite amount of data on each customer, but unless it's important to your overall goals and efforts, you might actually be decreasing the value of your data by making it more difficult to see the important data that can help you make crucial decisions. Furthermore, customers are starting to question all the data that they're sharing with companies, so collecting only the data you need may be able to help you earn business.
- The next important piece of secure data management is to limit access to the data you're collecting. If we've learned anything from the countless data breaches that have hit the news in recent years, it's that there are myriad ways for data to be exposed. And if you're sharing your important data with everyone in your company, any one of them can become a vector for a data breach if they leave a laptop or phone in an Uber or if they're simply irresponsible stewards of their own logins and passwords.
- Furthermore, companies need to take steps to do whatever they can to limit data access for third parties. A large majority of customers would likely be amazed - and not necessarily in a positive way - at how many third parties can access customer data and how and why they’re able to do so. Data is a living, breathing thing, and it needs to be managed both within and outside an organization’s own four walls.
- Another important aspect of secure data management is to use password management tools, or to at least create strong passwords that aren't easily guessable. That's because logins are a crucial aspect of data security, and having a bunch of weak logins out there is akin to leaving unprotected side doors to your data troves. Additionally, it can help to turn on two-factor authentication for every access point so that even with a stolen password, a rogue actor won't be able to get in.
- Secure data management wouldn't be complete without this final suggestion, and that means setting minimum security standards for your data. Much of that can come from comprehensive customer data management software, but it is also a responsibility for those that are using the software and gaining access to the data. Any tools you use should be encrypted and comply with SOC 2 or ISO 27001, which are best practice security standards that all companies engaged in data collection should follow.
Secure Data Management With MetaRouter
Here at MetaRouter, we help you respect your users by being responsible with their data. With our secure data management platform, we offer easy management of your data with category based rules that respect the needs of your business while maintaining the security of your customer data. Let's chat, or learn more here.