Data security is a top priority for any business in this day and age. Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, it is nearly impossible to conduct business in the 21st century without gleaning personal information from customers. As such, data protection is now a must.
What is so fascinating about the data security idea is that so many companies invest in it because they have to. They see it as a necessary evil for doing business in the information age. But there is a different way to approach it. Data security is not just a legal requirement; it makes for good business too.
Approaching data security from the angle of good business changes a company’s perspective. It provides motivation above and beyond satisfying regulatory concerns, the motivation that can make a business more responsive to its customers. With that in mind, below are the top three reasons data security makes for good business, compliments of the Privacy Helper Consultancy.
1. Avoiding economic damage
What the world knows as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was developed by the EU in 2016. It came into full force in 2018. It requires all companies doing business in the EU to maintain standard data security procedures in order to protect consumer information. For all intents and purposes, it is the law. There are similar laws in other jurisdictions as well.
Failing to comply can mean prosecution and financial penalties. Now again, abiding by the rules because you have to is certainly sufficient motivation. But in terms of making for good business, avoiding prosecution and financial penalties is also avoiding economic damage. That is always good for business.
The last thing any company wants is to face the economic damage caused by regulatory non-compliance. Companies found out of compliance often face punitive fines from government authorities. Furthermore, a subsequent blow to a company’s reputation could mean a loss of sales and revenue. Thus, the economic impacts of non-compliance go beyond just government fines.
It is just good business to avoid unnecessary economic damage. Any successful business owner worth his/her salt would attest to that. It is good business to avoid unnecessary risk – especially where that risk relates to regulatory compliance.
2. Encouraging better security
Individual provisions of the GDPR were met with plenty of speculation in the months leading up to its implementation. Companies were complaining that they would be forced to spend untold amounts of money to bring their websites and data policies into compliance. Much of what they worried about never came to fruition. More importantly though, having to guarantee compliance actually encouraged them to maintain better security.
This is one of the unintended consequences of data security that so many companies end up appreciating. Maintaining data security forces IT teams and company executives to look closely at a whole range of security policies and initiatives. Just trying to meet one provision of GDPR compliance could reveal previously unknown gaps in other areas. Thus, companies have an opportunity to close those gaps.
No matter how you look at it, better security makes for better business. Companies that rarely deal with serious security threats can invest their time and energy in serving their customers. They enjoy a reputation that says they know what they are doing. They establish themselves as companies that can be trusted.
3. Modern customers demand it
Even if avoiding economic damage and encouraging better security were not enough motivation, the fact that modern customers demand data security is compelling enough. A fundamental business truth says that the customer is always right. What the customer wants, the customer ultimately gets in one form or another.
If customers demand data security these days – and they do – it is incumbent upon companies to give it to them. Those that do are viewed favourably in their customers’ eyes. Those that go out of their way to protect data are the companies that make their customers happy. That is certainly good for business.
We can take it one step further in that companies that go out of their way to ensure customers are happy are the same companies that continue looking for new ways to do it. Today it might mean developing policies to prevent certain workers from accessing data they don’t need to see. Tomorrow it might mean ending a policy of buying data from other companies with the knowledge that doing so violates the spirit of data protection at its core.
A customer-focused policy
Data security is no longer an option. It is now a necessity. But rather than practicing data security compliance due to some legal mandate, it is better for companies to see it as an opportunity to serve customers better. That is what it’s all about anyway.
In the end, a data security policy is a customer-focused policy. It is rooted in the belief that customer data does not exist to be harvested, sold, and otherwise misused by companies.