How to Keep Your Customers Safe Online – 2018

Internet safety is a key concern both professionally and personally — it’s probable that the vast majority of individuals do not know how much, or what kind of, data is being held on them. Perhaps even most employees are unaware of the sort of data they collect from their customers.

As data collection and Internet safety are somewhat of a gray area, now that there are new General Data Protection Regulations rolled out in the EU, many businesses are struggling to understand how this new data approach affects their ways of working. What will they need to do to become compliant? How will this benefit their customers? If you are asking this on behalf of your organization, then keep reading.

An informed customer is a safe customer

If customer safety is your priority, the first thing you can do is ensure your clientele are fully informed on all aspects of your data collection process. You can do this by hosting full information on your company website, plus use user interface and user experience design to be unambiguous and up-front with how and when data is being collected.

When the GDPR launches on May 25th, 2018, customers will have the right to demand access to the data held on them and exercise their ‘right to be forgotten’ (that is, to have all the data currently held on them erased permanently).

The more you arm your customers with transparent details on data collection, the safer you’ll enable them to be.

Understand what has changed

In order to effectively comply with the new GDPR — and keep your customers safe — it will be your corporate responsibility to understand how the guidelines have changed and why.

For instance, in the previous 1998 Data Protection rules, companies could make use of an offshore loophole: processing customer data on a server outside of the EU. Under the GDPR, this practice is illegal.

The definition of ‘personal data’ is also to be updated under the GDPR. Previously, information such as name, email address and phone number were clearly defined as personal data, yet now behavioral and demographic profile and IP addresses will also fall into this category.

Therefore, if you are in the habit of collecting this information, you’ll need to inform your customers you are doing so. You can find further information on the changing definitions under GDPR by studying Sage’s guide on the changes to be imposed and how to avoid costly penalties.

Respecting customers’ rights

The new GDPR aims to respect individuals’ rights and increase their confidence in online operations; currently, 60% of Europeans do not trust online businesses.

Moving forward, you’ll need to have the technology in place to enable you to respond quickly if clientele exercises their new data rights. As mentioned, they’ll have the right to ‘be forgotten’ and the right to have revealed to them all the data currently being held in their name.

Failure to be able to remove or share this information will be in direct noncompliance with the GDPR. Noncompliance can bring heavy financial penalties and compensation claims, but it will also erode your customers’ trust in your service — which could create even longer-lasting damage.

So, what next?

Customer safety should always be a concern, but in the lead up to the GDPR launch, it should be of utmost importance in your internal innovations. Do not delay in reworking your data collection, storage, and usage. Moreover, while outsourcing a project, the dealing company should also bear in mind the cost of not respect the customer’s privacy.

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