One of the most important information technology topics to care about and prioritize today is customer data privacy. Identify theft, phishing, and cyber fraud are just some of the many risks and problems customers face when providing their personal and financial information online. What is customer data privacy, and how can individuals protect their personal and business data from the sophisticated tactics of cybercriminals?
Let this complete guide help you better understand customer data privacy, including its benefits, associated cybersecurity risks, governing laws and regulations, and more.
What Is Customer Data Privacy?
Customers provide their information, such as name, address, email address, and credit card information, when they perform online transactions, like social media networking, online shopping, and paying bills. This act itself puts customer data at risk for cyber vulnerabilities and threats.
Customer data privacy (CDP) involves protecting customers’ sensitive personal information from unauthorized transactions, users, parties, entities, and other uses and purposes not specified in the data privacy agreement.
Information Technology And CDP
Even though there are governing laws related to customer data privacy, some reputable and legitimate businesses inadvertently expose customer information due to IT loopholes, gaps, and vulnerabilities.
For this reason, many companies rely upon IT experts, establishing an in-house IT team or hiring managed IT services. IT has a huge impact across all industries. For instance, the impact of IT on Finsec or financial security includes securing finance servers, payment processing gateways, credit card data encryption, etc., to protect customers’ financial data privacy.
The misuse and fraudulent use of customer data can be prevented with the assistance of cybersecurity experts. Businesses can also invest in cybersecurity solutions to strengthen their IT resiliency and protect their digital assets, especially the information their customers share. On the other hand, customers can also protect their data with the help of cybersecurity apps and proactive data protection practices.
But before making a cybersecurity investment decision, it’s important to know the governing laws regarding customer data privacy for a more informed decision.
Importance Of Customer Data Privacy
Ensuring the protection of customers’ data is crucial in any business. Even consumers must be proactive in protecting their data to prevent dire consequences.
Here are the top reasons customer data privacy is important:
- Consumer Protection
Companies are responsible and accountable for consumer protection as people entrust their information to their websites, employees, and business systems. Customers must also implement best practices, such as reading data privacy policies and checking the security features of an app or website before giving out their information.
- Business Protection
If consumer data is compromised, a company will not only lose customers and ruin its reputation but also face financial losses, loss of intellectual property, and potential regulatory penalties. Customers can file lawsuits against companies that caused data leaks. As a result, companies may face huge fines and penalties and possible closure if they don’t comply with CDP laws.
Protecting customer data privacy is a collaborative effort between customers, businesses, and government agencies. Beyond customer and business protection, customer data privacy maintains peace and order in the digital world, where cybercriminals work hard to lure their next victims.
Customer Data Privacy Laws
Below are the governing customer data privacy laws:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
GDPR is a unified data privacy law across Europe, encompassing modern data collection and sharing practices. All businesses that offer products and services to EU countries must uphold GDPR in compliance with this 2018-created data privacy regulation. Otherwise, multinational companies can incur sizeable fines and penalties. European countries have dedicated CDP authorities to enforce GDPR.
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The GDPR has influenced many countries, including the United States, to create similar regulations to safeguard customer data. The CCPA is one of the most notable state laws in the United States that took effect on January 1, 2020.
CCPA introduces a set of consumer rights not previously outlined in any of the country’s laws. Under this law, California consumers have several privileges, such as refusal to collect and sell their data, and businesses must honor these verifiable consumer requests.
Government Agencies Regulating CDP
Some of the government agencies that regulate customer data privacy in the United States include the following:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
This agency requires businesses to disclose their privacy policies to customers and can take legal action against violators.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
This agency protects financial sector consumers, outlining principles regarding authorizing third-party access to consumer financial data. CFPB also regulates the provision of financial products and services based on these principles.
- Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC)
This agency enforces rules on general data protection and data breach disclosure.
Tips To Ensure Customer Data Privacy
Below are some valuable tips to ensure customer data privacy:
- Verify Legitimacy And Security
Not all apps and websites are safe. Avoid putting yourself at risk. As a responsible consumer, you must first check if you’re dealing with a legitimate and secure business platform before entering your personal and financial information. If a website or app doesn’t have strong security features, such as a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption, consider the transaction a red flag.
- Read Data Privacy Laws
Data privacy laws outline the information businesses want to collect from customers. Some companies only require basic information, such as customers’ names and email addresses, while others demand contact lists and credit card information. If you accept the terms and conditions without reading the data privacy, you might be at risk of supplying your information on a silver platter without realizing it.
- Know The Best Cybersecurity Practices
Many people become victims of phishing schemes because they don’t know cybersecurity best practices, such as not clicking links from emails and avoiding saving passwords on other devices. On the other hand, businesses fail to implement multi-factor authentication, encrypt sensitive user data, update their apps and websites, and other cybersecurity practices.
If you’re a business owner, ensure you do all means to ensure customer data privacy. Talk to a cybersecurity expert to learn more about the best solutions for your business.
In this advancing modern era, customer data privacy is an increasingly hot topic for both customers and businesses. Ensuring customer data privacy involved shared responsibility between businesses and customers. Knowing your duties, how your data is put at risk, and your available solutions to protect your data is a must to avoid being a victim of cybercrimes.