Top 6 Techniques To Keep Customer Data Private

Data privacy is one of the hottest topics in today's business world. A report from TRUSTe/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Consumer Privacy Index has shown that people in the U.S. are extremely concerned about the privacy and security of their data. They give to it more importance than to their jobs and worry about it even more than they fear unemployment. Some high-profile data breaches, such as recent IBM's fiasco, also prove that everyone should be concerned about data privacy in the same way they care about their primary source of income.

Nowadays, when cybersecurity attacks are affecting people and countries on a large scale, brands and companies should ensure that they provide practical data security that will actually protect buyer’s information.

Here, we will discuss the proven data safety techniques that help you safeguard customer’s sensitive data while collecting it with the greatest of ease!

1. Create An Honest & Clear Privacy Policy

Without trust, customers will never buy from you. A crystal clear privacy policy plays a vital role in proving a company is reliable or authentic. Any unclear or misleading information can harm your company's reputation.

You may want to ask yourself:

How does a clear privacy policy impact my sales by improving customers’ willingness to make a purchase?

The answer is simple. When you tell customers how data is stored, used, and protected, they will be more likely to buy from you.

It will also give you a competitive edge over other businesses. If any other company provides vague or ambiguous information, their clients will prefer your business over theirs.   Building the customer trust is also one of the top sales closing techniques that will win you new buyers.

Notice, on the graph below, that customers value each company separately and that primary care centers tend to receive maximum trust and positive ratings from their clients.

Another downside of not having a strict and clear privacy policy is the possibility of being caught by government agencies or trade bodies who actively deal with companies that have vague or misleading information in their privacy policies.

2. Keep Software Up-To-Date

If you do not regularly update your software, it will go into an interim period. At this stage, it will be more vulnerable to attacks from hackers who constantly look for weak systems.

Many organizations go through quiet periods in which customers do not hear about any kind of updates,  making it easy for cyber attackers to exploit security vulnerabilities. It is particularly important for support companies to keep the data of customers safe and secure by regularly updating their software. One example of an extremely secure software company is Helpy, whch ensures maximum data safety for their clients. Here are several benefits of hiring a Helpy helpdesk software:

  • Users are able to login and use a secure web interface that prevents insecure sending of emails containing sensitive information.
  • Keeps all sensitive information, such as social security numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and emails secure with its data masking feature.
  • Options are available to delete or anonymize the customers' data to ensure maximum security.
  • With fine grained permission options, Helpy allows you to determine which staff members have access to different features. In this way you can minimize the risks of exposing sensitive customer service information.
  • By enabling the password and multi-factor verification options, users can further ensure the security and privacy of their personal sensitive information.
  • Single Sign On (SSO) feature authenticates users and staff with the help of a Central Identity Provider, giving your team power over the password policies.

3. Encrypt User Data

A lot of businesses claim that they encrypt user data, but very few of them actually do a thorough job. Additionally, some industris are better at encryption than others. For example, various payment providers will encrypt data and ensure the ultimate safety of their customer’s data.

Visa and MasterCard are some of the best examples of payment providers that require retailers to encrypt card details by default.

So as long as you are dealing with legit and reputable payment providers, you will not have to worry about exposure of your data during the transaction process.

However, remember that not all businesses provide such a high level of encryption. Your data is at risk whenever a company asks you to collect your information or when your details are stored on the company’s servers.

Customer support is the prime target for hackers, thus support companies should consider encrypting user data and staying up-to-date on new privacy laws.

Encryption makes information unreadable for hackers

If you think you don't have enough knowledge about the encryption process, stick around!

If your data is encrypted, it simply means that your information will be coded, thus even if malicious attackers hack your data through the servers, they won't be able to understand it. This unreadability of useful information makes encryption a an essential data pretection technique.

If a company doesn't utilize encryption tools, they will be bombarded with various hacking attempts. Thus, it is the core responsibility of companies to stay current on encryption policies and keep themselves informed about the latest encryption technologies.

4. Be Transparent About Customer Data Usage

Collecting unnecessary customer data can be confusing for customers. When you ask to save their private information, you should mention the purpose. Keeping people in the dark may indicate a lack of interest for the customer wellbeing and may ultimately make your customers nervious.

Research has revealed that two-thirds of customers are hyper-conscious about the value they will receive in exchange for sharing their personal information. A transparent company never hides the reason for customer data collection. Be straightforward, hit the point quickly and let customers know what you are going to do with their data.

Here’s how you can conduct an honest bussiness and enable transparency throught the whole customer journey:

  • Be open about flaws and don't feel reluctant to tell customers about something you can't do.
  • While dealing directly with customers, always own your mistakes and never offer poor excuses.
  • Understand the priorities of your customers and guide them from start to finish, or until they feel completely satisfied.
  • While asking for feedback, give your customers enough space to discuss their experiences, both good and bad. Be open to receiving bad feedback.

5. Only Verify Private Data, Don’t Store It

Online businesses and companies should take the processing of personal customer information seriously and understand when there is no need to store the customer data. For instance, it is not necessary to store credit card details.

To ensure the maximum safety of customers, a company should only collect the basic customer data, such as names and contact information, but should never store all information without a compelling and legitimate reason.

Remember that data breaches can affect any business at any time, and that storage of sensitive information can create huge losses for clients.

6. Test For Vulnerabilities

Even if a company uses advanced security tools, there will always be potential weak spots. The only solution to keep up with changing security strategies is to test your site for undetected vulnerabilities. Customer support sites should pay particular attention to this aspect as they store the highest amount of customer data.

Here are some important questions that may arise:

a) How do you detect vulnerabilities that are not even detected by various advanced software systems and other tools?

Remember, only software experts and professionals can guarantee successful vulnerability detection. It is imperative that you hire professionals that will continuously look for cyber vulnerabilities on your site.

b) Why is it important to keep customer data private?

If your data is in the wrong hands, anyone can misuse it. This means that businesses should be serious about the protection and safeguarding of their customer’s personal data. It is obvious that potential buyers prefer to buy from sites that have clear-cut privacy policies and from those that guarantee the safety of their data. For example, if the personal data of soldiers and armed forces were  hacked or exposed, the enemy could use that information for their benefit.

Moreover, if data related to a credit card is stolen, cyber attackers or money launderers may misuse this information to steal the money on these cards.

The exposure of data in education institutions can put the security of students at risk as well.

In general, most people don't want to share their sensitive information because it makes them feel insecure. Thus, keep in mind that online world is full of hackers as well as third parties that can misuse data.

Banks, educational institutions, medical and healthcare centers, and database businesses should focus on the security of their customers' information nore than anyone else because these industries operate with the highest amount of data as well as the most sensitive one. Proper security standards will definitely impact your sales positively because everything will be under control.

Things To Keep In Mind

Marketers as well as online business owners should focus on the privacy of customer data and better understand their security needs.

The fact is, when you provide transparent information to your customers, they will naturally start trusting you. This will convert them to your loyal customers who will never leave you.

So what should you do now?

Check out whether or not customers are satisfied with your privacy policies and determine their level of overall satisfaction. Use this information to achieve perfect digital experiences – whether it’s protecting user data or ensuring seamless user journeys.

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