Everything you need to know about data protection

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In 2021, all businesses need to have a keen eye on data protection and the main law that covers it, GDPR. Without it, you could fall foul of the law, ruin your reputation, and put the digital lives of your customers in the hands of criminals. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here is everything you need to know about data protection.

What are data protection and GDPR?

Data is crucial for practically any forward-thinking business. It allows them to understand their customers, plan for the future, and develop better products and services. Protecting this data is important though, as more often than not, it can contain personal information that can be used to identify customers or generally put them or their money in harm’s way.

For years, the approaches by companies to their protection differed greatly, and without a clear approach to follow, countless data leaks occurred, putting millions at risk. According to the site, have I been pwned? which lets users check if their information has been part of a data breach, 11.5 billion accounts have been compromised, across 545 websites.

To provide a solid base for data protection, the EU developed the General Data Protection (GDPR). This enforces ‘data protection principles’ that ensure personal data is used transparently, lawfully, and fairly, limiting what organisations can do with the data their customers allow them to have control over. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK implementation of GDPR law.

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How to protect your customers’ data?

There are many things you can do to safeguard your customer data. These include:

  • Review policies – Under GDPR, every company must give their customers a privacy notice (also known more widely as a privacy policy), which notes things such as how the data is to be used, the length of time and data is retained, and much more. You can view an exhaustive list here.
  • Insure yourself – Due to the potential cost of data breaches, and the ever-growing spectre of cybercrime and data loss, it can be a good idea to invest in specialised insurance. By ensuring your business is protected by cyber insurance, you can guard against these risks, helping ensure business continuity. 
  • Invest in training – If you do not educate your staff in how to control and manage customer data, you magnify the risk of leaks and expensive fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office. Instead, invest in training so they know how to process data correctly, and how to identify data risks when conducting their roles.
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