March 23, 2022

Do Your Customers Trust You With Their Data? 4 Questions You Must Ask About Your Data Footprint

Do Your Customers Trust You With Their Data? 4 Questions You Must Ask About Your Data Footprint

Human beings by nature carry a sense of invincibility throughout their lives, believing “it won’t happen to me.” In Psychology, it’s called a personal fable. Today, many businesses believe that they are being safe and the chances of a data breach are slim. However the risk of a data breach is increasing more and more everyday. According to the University of Maryland¹, an internet hacker commits an attack every 39 seconds. The more skilled people are at building software, the more likely they are to be aware of their vulnerabilities. If you feel anxious about the amount of sensitive customer information you hold in combination with the high chance of a breach, you could be suffering from Breach Anxiety.

In today’s technology driven climate, taking a risk when it comes to your customer data is a recipe for disaster. According to IBM², the average cost of a data breach is $329 million, and 48% of customers have stopped buying from a company over privacy concerns. Are you willing to take that chance?

Whether you’re ready or not, privacy is making a name for itself in the business world. By asking the right questions, you can make sure your company is taking a turn towards the future and adapting to the needs of the consumer.

1. Do you know all the data elements you are either collecting or plan to collect on your customers?

Step one, awareness. Identify and classify the type of data you collect on your customers. Could this data be valuable to predators? Is the information you’re collecting sensitive and confidential? If the answer is yes to either question, you need to identify all data you collect. According to Varonis³, the average company has 534,465 files of sensitive information.

As you’re reading this, are you able to give a generalized number as to the amount of sensitive data elements you hold on your servers? If not, you should start with understanding what information you hold on your customers.

2. Do you understand the purpose of each data element you collect?

Look at your data inventory. Ask yourself WHY. Why are you collecting this data? What are the data elements that are useful and essential to running your business? Which elements could you go without? IBM estimates that every data breach costs $150 per record lost. Decreasing the amount of data you collect on your customers decreases your liability. This is commonly referred to as data minimization: limiting the amount of data collected or shared to decrease the risk of exposure. In simple terms, reducing your information footprint.

Companies need to be thoughtful about their data collection, collecting only as much is necessary to provide the products and services their customers love. Customers should not have to sacrifice their rights to enjoy superior products and services enabled by technology. It’s important to remember that data minimization doesn’t mean you should stop collecting or processing data, but that you need to collect, store and use that data in ways that eliminates the damage when it lands in the wrong hands.

3. Do you have tools and skill set to enable the full data protection required by regulatory mandates?

One of the biggest hurdles to protecting data is having the expertise to do so. Not many companies actually have the luxury of in-house experts capable of creating a software architecture that offers privacy in addition to basic industry standard practices. In addition to providing privacy for your customers and to help with the risk of a data breach, many aspects of a privacy-first architecture are now required by law, such as GDPR in the EU and CCPA in the US. With new regulations come potential for fines. In 2020 alone, over $1.5B were issued in fines over privacy violations, a number projected to increase.

Are you confident you have the tools and skills to manage data protection as well as comply with privacy mandates?

4. Do you have one week to invest and solve your privacy concerns while giving your company a competitive advantage?

For consumers, privacy is no longer a second thought. The buying experience is evolving, and more than ever customers are looking to businesses who can provide them with a trusting experience. By putting privacy at the heart of your business, you’re turning privacy into an asset, and giving your company a competitive advantage. Still on the fence? With blindnet, you can easily offer privacy to your user in no time:

  • Service without the risk — Provide superior products while offloading liability through a secure service
  • Fast implementation — Improve profits and customer retention when you turn privacy into an asset
  • Easy compliance — Solve for mandates from GDPR, CCPA and SOC2 in under a week

Worried about ROI? Keep in mind that according to Forbes¹, for every dollar spent on privacy, companies receives $2.70 in associated benefits.

The near future will show which companies put their customers first by taking privacy seriously and bringing it to the forefront of their business. Don’t regret not taking a proactive stance.

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1 https://ung.edu/continuing-education/news-and-media/cybersecurity.php#:~:text=A%20Clark%20School%20study%20at,give%20attackers%20more%20chance%20of

2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/06/22/50-stats-showing-why-companies-need-to-prioritize-consumer-privacy/?sh=5e210b5737f6

3 https://www.varonis.com/2019-data-risk-report/