Back in the day, there were fewer ways that hackers could use personal data against people. Therefore, data privacy was not as big of a concern as it is today.
Nowadays, people want to know what businesses do with their data. This is a method to ensure that both big and small companies won’t sell customer data or have it misused.
As a result, data privacy has become a huge concern. To be truthful, it is slowly becoming one of the most important things related to internet use.
And that is why the privacy of internet users (your customers included) is covered by various regulations like GDPR and CCPA. The former is related to the EU residents while the latter one deals with California residents’ data.
Of course, these are not the only laws and regulations that you should be aware of. If you’d like to go into details about this issue, definitely check out Prolifics’s guide to data privacy for a more comprehensive look.
But if you are interested in learning how data privacy affects your business and why it is important, the article that follows will be enough to get you started.
What is the definition of data privacy?
Data privacy refers to the practices that ensure the data shared by customers is only used for its intended legal purposes.
This data usually comes in the shape of customers’ sensitive information. So it is only right to have control over how personal information is collected and used.
Data protection is a subset of data privacy. In other words, protecting user data and sensitive information is a measure to keep user data private.
Now, let’s see why data privacy is important for your business.
Reason 1 — Customers care about their privacy
Customers today do a solid bit of research before they go online and buy products. The consumers also share the apps they like on their social media pages.
The data, in this situation, is collected by mobile apps, device manufacturers, operators, and internet providers. And there is a chance that it will be sold for money.
The majority of consumers share information such as locations, opinions, and photos, with social media platforms. But they are reluctant when it comes to sharing personal data with these platforms.
According to a survey, more than 90% of Americans believe that they need to be safe online and that their data needs to be protected from misuse.
All in all, it is clear that customers care about their privacy. So, do not lose their trust by misusing the gathered data.
Reason 2 — Meeting compliance requirements
We have already mentioned some regulations regarding the protection of user data. Well, you will need to follow them if you want your business to comply with legal requirements.
Organizations that fail to implement privacy protection generally face huge fines. Some even amount to tens of millions of dollars and up to 20-year penalties for non-compliance with laws, regulations, standards, and their own published privacy and security notices.
On top of that, businesses also risk losing valuable business relationships by not complying with their contractual requirements regarding privacy protection.
Reason 3 — Prevent cyber-crime
Implementing strong security safeguards and firewalls with the aim of protecting personal data needs to be a priority.
This is a principle that should be common to all businesses today. On top of that, this is often a privacy legal requirement that needs to be followed in some regions of the world.
Businesses that implement security features such as the ones mentioned here reduce the number of security incidents that result in privacy breaches. And no breaches means that a business won’t lose the trust of its customers.
When an average consumer finds out that your online business was ‘hacked’ and that your customers suffered consequences because of it, chances are that they will never consider you as an option, ever again.
That is why you need to do everything you can to ensure a safe online shopping experience for your customers.
Reason 4 — Keeping Your Customers Safe
The previous reason mainly dealt with the consequences you, as an owner, would face if someone was to steal data from your website.
However, it is worth noting that your customers are even more important than your business in case a breach occurs.
Privacy protection means that it’s imperative to have strong security for personal data and anything connected to collecting, storing, processing, accessing, transmitting, sharing, and disposing of the data.
When you implement security controls for personal data, you are avoiding data breaches. As a result, you will not have to worry that someone’s credit card details or other sensitive information will be stolen.
Always remember that it is up to you to make sure that your customers are safe.
Reason 5 — Keeping everyone safe means supporting ethics
Most businesses today have established ethics policies. This can also be seen as a code of conduct that you should follow closely.
Even the businesses that haven’t established ethics policies still need to follow ethical practices if they expect to remain in business for any significant period of time.
These ethics policies usually indicate that confidential information will be handled responsibly. They imply that data will not be used in business activities in ways that will do harm in any way. Also, they vow that the data shall only be used for business purposes.
However, the worst part of this story is that businesses tend to ignore ethical principles. Many businesses only refrain from misusing the data if there is a law against it.
And if there is no law regulating this, well, you can guess what happens. This is a common scenario in developing regions where the laws regarding data privacy are either loose or non-existent.
Don’t be that kind of business. Sure, you may avoid getting a penalty, but if your customers find out what you’re doing… go back to reason one if you forgot what could happen.
Data privacy is becoming quite an important thing in the 21st century. Customers have been failed by companies so many times and they care about their data more than ever. They don’t want to share their data with companies that can sell it and do them harm.
As a company, you need to follow regulations enforced in the region where you’re doing business, such as GDPR or CCPA.
Make your customers’ privacy your top priority. It is important to keep in mind that a customer always comes first.