Data is one of the most valuable resources available to modern businesses, but it brings with it specific risks – in particular, data breaches. The threat of endangering customer information aside, one of the most present consequences is of reputational damage. ITPro highlights the severe reputational damage incurred by several of the world’s largest companies due to improper data control and also notes that small and medium enterprises suffer worse than most. In short, protecting your business assets will go a long way to protecting your good reputation. In an ever-changing digital world, this can require a little more thought than you would presume.
1. Protecting data
Every single action that a business takes online will leave a digital relic somewhere on the web. The digital footprint, a term familiar to many businesses, is nevertheless a lot larger than many businesses discern and is something that can be assessed by the customer with relative ease. Modern data archiving protocols mean that most major services will provide their data on demand; there are simple ways to download Facebook data files, along with Twitter, Instagram, and all of the other major social media outlets, as well as Google. This means customers have full access to their data and will be able to see where it has been improperly stored or distributed. As Business Insider outlines, the best way to be diligent as a business is to act as if you were a customer practice digital hygiene, and keep customer data safe.
2. Managing risks
Even the best-laid plans can be struck down with relative ease. A litany of companies has been subject to huge data breaches over the past few years, from WhatsApp and Yahoo to the recent 40 million customer breach of T-Mobile. It’s unlikely that your business would be targeted by the most sophisticated attacks, but it’s still necessary to deploy the absolute best level of cybersecurity possible, along with good data protection protocols, to keep attackers at bay. This can also help you preserve your reputation when the worst cast situation does arise.
3. Managing expectations
Attacks do happen. Breaches do happen. There was a huge level hack, likely perpetrated by Russian actors, which NPR states infiltrated almost all levels of the US digital network. Some things go over your head as a business, and that can’t be avoided. What can be done is reputation management. If you have taken every reasonable step to protect the data of your customers, and you commit to improving your processes in the future and doing your best to help customers protect their data today – you’ll do a lot of good for your reputation as a business that cares about customers. Often, data and privacy protection is a case of being one step ahead. Your customers will know this and will know how erratic the current digital climate is. Showing that you care and that you have a handle on why their data matters, is the key.