Even if you are not a regular and devoted news reader, you have probably seen the surge of massive data breaches, privacy invasions, and collection of personal data. Being aware of the security threat, it is not a surprise that internet users are growing more careful with websites and businesses which ask for their personal data.

According to the 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey, many organizations around the world need better privacy risk management that is more successfully integrated with cybersecurity. Currently, only about half of organizations are implementing key measurements in this area, with 49% limiting personal data collection to the necessary minimum and 46% conducting compliance audits of third parties that handle personal data.

Implementing privacy risk management strategy may take time and effort, but if you are in it for the long haul, you will earn your customers’ trust and a good reputation. Here’s how you can do it.

Source: freepik.com

 

Take and keep only what you need

If you don’t have a legitimate professional need for sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers and credit card ID, don’t collect it. If there is a legitimate business need for such information, save it only as long as it’s indispensable. The collection and retention of personal data require taking numerous measures of protection. If you are not willing to engage in such a process, it is best to refrain from the collection in the first place.

 

Train your employees

The Global State of Information Security Survey showed that only 53% of organizations require employee training on privacy policy and practices. This is a mistake because trained agents could be the only thing standing between your business and data breach or even a lawsuit. Be sure your agents on social media are trained to understand when a public message needs to be transferred to a direct message and give them a list of data types which shouldn’t, by any means, be shared via direct communication.

Source: freepik.com

Cross-reference your list with local regulations and industry-specific rules. Some companies even have a chief privacy officer (CPO) in charge of adopting limits on data collection, providing employee training, maintaining an accurate data inventory, and conducting compliance audits.

 

Provide secure authentication

Customer authentication is often a requirement that helps you confirm the customer is who they say they are. This doesn’t mean it should be conducted recklessly. It is also an object of debate among policymakers, business owners, and citizens.

Source: Screenshot from nist.gov

Multiple layer authentication is the go-to choice of many companies seeking to protect personal data. The year we are in is viewed as the year of improvements in this sector, as many businesses are realizing the importance of advanced authentication for building trust, reducing fraud, and improving the customer experience.

 

Be honest with your customers

There are business practices that never go old, in spite of the changes that are happening globally. Being honest and prioritizing your customers’ needs is always appreciated quality, and in that sense, social media customer care is not much different from face-to-face contact in a brick and mortar store.

The simple tip is to give them a straightforward pledge that will say that you will never misuse, rent, sell or share their personal information, and stick to it. Acting in good faith will, in time, become something you are known for, and people will know that they can trust that your business will treat data about them with care and responsibility.

 

Protect your bots

Bot-only social media strategy is a mistake for numerous reasons – communicating without empathy and social intelligence is just one of them. The other one, that can be far more devastating for your business, is that they are vulnerable to hackers.

Source: dribbble.com

Hackers can use infected wireless devices to execute a variety of illegal tasks, such as gift card frauds, account takeovers, price scraping, and gambling. When setting up a bot system on a social media platform, make sure you have all the information you need and that you understand all the terms of use.

 

Transfer to a brand-owned messaging channel

Source: freepik.com

There is really not many things you can do, or at least not enough of them when it comes to third-party channels. Facebook’s messaging system has its own rules and protection, Twitter’s too… A secure, brand-owned messaging channel, on the other hand, is a place where you can do everything within your power to keep your communication safe. It should be an encrypted space where you are in full control of the data. This channel can be a stand-alone technology, or it can be integrated with your current social care platform.

 

Have the last resort

When you are handling sensitive personal data, you can never be too sure. If you feel like your channels are not secure enough, give instructions to your employees to use phones as a last resort. The transfer should run smoothly as a part of an already established process. The customers may feel a bit frustrated by this act, but the agents should be able to explain how this is for their own good and how their privacy is highly valued in your company.

 

Be quick at detecting breaches

Regardless of how careful you are, security breaches are, unfortunately, always a possibility. When that happens, the only thing standing between you and a disaster is how quickly you will react. For this, it would be useful to have employees in charge of monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic. Also, there are many effective intrusion detection systems, which, if updated regularly, can be of immense help. Finally, you should always have a breach response plan ready for implementation.

Source: dribbble.com

Customer data security is a big challenge for all businesses in 2019. These strategies should serve only as a basic guide because the changes in this field are so rapid and unpredictable that you always have to be on the edge of your seat.

 

About Natasha Lane