In this digital age, customer data has become a highly sought-after commodity. Cyber attackers can profit from possessing this valuable information. Thus legitimate data privacy policies and robust data protection have become key determinants of business success.
If you experience a data leakage or you are accused of data mishandling, you will be faced with a compromised reputation and lower sales numbers as a result. Many customers may decide not to do business with you again, putting your business at risk. It is possible you may never recover from this loss.
Would you like to avoid this scenario? If you answered yes, then feel free to read the rest of the article to learn why customer data privacy is important and how a security- and privacy-focused helpdesk software can help you.
1. What is Data Privacy?
Data privacy is a broad term, hence the surrounding confusion. Essentially it falls under the data protection category and implies all kinds of practices regarding data collection, processing, and storage. Be careful not to mix up data privacy with data protection. The distinction between these two concepts is one of the most common questions these days.
Data privacy is focused on defining how a company can use customer data. On the other hand, data protection safeguards your data to stop hackers from gaining unauthorized access to it. You can learn more about their key differences in our article “A Complete Explanation: Data Privacy vs Data Protection."
Due to the danger of data misuse, there are certain rules that form a company’s data policy that every employee needs to follow. Above all, the policy needs to respect consumer rights guaranteed by local data privacy laws. Therefore, you need to have consent for any data action you are planning in the future.
2. Who Can Access Your Data?
Personally identifiable information (PII) ownership has become an important asset as many companies’ revenues and policy compliance depend on it. There are two lawful assessors to this data, the customer and the authorized company.
At this level, data processing is based on legitimate purposes and everything is in the right order. However, when a customer gives their consent for a company to access their data, it becomes hard to have full control over how that information is used. There are specific threats you need to keep an eye on.
The three major threats to your customers’ data privacy are:
- Government surveillance: Unfortunately, politicians can benefit from our information too. The government surveillance program PRISM collected data from Apple’s, Facebook’s, and Google’s servers, creating one of the top public data controversies of our century. In this case, the government had direct access to consumers’ search history, email content, file transfers, and even live chats. And they were doing all of that without your approval. That wasn’t nice, right?
- Third-party applications: This might be the biggest threat to sustainable data privacy. Nowadays there are many apps that allow Facebook login. When you log in to another application with your Facebook account, you voluntarily give data access authorization to the third party, endangering the legitimate use of your data. You might remember the scandal with Cambridge Analytica from 2018, when the company illegally collected data from more than 50 million Facebook users. This sounds quite horrifying.
- Data breaches: This security and data privacy challenge implies multiple enemies. We live in a world of hackers who are using numerous mechanisms to get our personal information, such as banking details or identity data. Techniques such as installing malware on your servers, phishing, and keylogging can result in your data being stolen. Once a hacker breaks into your system, they can extract company as well as employee and customer data.
Learning about customer data privacy will help you take control over both your personal and your company's online presence and stop unlawful data harvesting. In addition, installing a helpdesk software that has a strong focus on data security and is compliant with data policies can help you fight against all these threats.
However, because the customer support desk often collects Personal Identifiable Information (PII), helpdesk software can be a target for hackers. That’s why choosing a data security-focused helpdesk software company is of the greatest importance for the safety of your company’s data.
When your helpdesk is hosted in the private cloud, all customer data is collected and stored under your roof. You are the complete owner of your data storage, therefore you decide which other parties are allowed access. This means that even the software provider may not have access to your backend.
3. The Latest Data Privacy Laws
With the never-ending threat of security and privacy breaches, government officials from many countries worldwide have recognized the need to create tougher laws that businesses will need to comply with. The most recent data privacy laws that significantly impact the US and global trade are GDPR (EU), CCPA (California), and LGPD (Brazil).
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data privacy and protection law imposed by the European Union. With this law, the EU mandates that consumer rights are acknowledged by companies and data is stored securely. All companies that provide services to the EU citizens must comply with GDPR.
- The United States’ Decentralized Approach
The United States has taken a decentralized approach, applying data privacy laws on a state-by-state basis. The Federal Trade Commission Act allows the state government bodies to take legal action against corporations that have engaged in deceptive practices. However, the term ‘deceptive practices’ is a very broad term and has a different definition in every state. For instance, CCPA is the latest California data privacy law that restricts the way companies collect data and imposes hefty fines on corporations that don’t comply. It defines a deceptive practice as any data usage that is not based on legitimate purposes. Every data action that is approved by customers can be understood as legitimate, while all others are at risk of legal scrutiny.
Following the EU example, the Brazilian government enacted the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in 2018. This law is Brazil’s first comprehensive data protection regulation and is very similar to GDPR in its language and clauses, shaping the way companies process the data of Brazilians.
4. The Consequences Of Non-Compliance– Data Privacy Fines
When there’s a law, there’s a fine, right? The above-mentioned privacy laws have introduced massive fines for companies that don’t take privacy seriously. All of them have certain rules that you need to incorporate within your company’s data policy in order to become completely compliant with your country’s privacy laws.
GDPR fines can be as high as 20 million euros or 4% of the company’s global revenue.
CCPA, with its giant class action lawsuits, can cost you enormously. However, its typical fine for intentional violations is $7,500, while unintentional violations cost a maximum of $2,500.
The Brazilian government went a bit easier on its businesses. The maximum fine for breaking the LGDP rules is 2% of the company’s revenue for a maximum of 50 million Brazilian reals, which is 10 million in euros.
5. How Can You Comply With Data Laws Quickly?
Tough data privacy restrictions around the world require serious measures to tackle and resolve companies’ data security issues. Most companies have hired a person or even a whole department to ensure privacy law compliance. Failure to do this means you could face numerous customer complaints and damaged brand identity.
Imagine that the business you have been growing for years collapses due to a single mistake in your customer data handling. This horrible possibility might become a reality if you haven’t updated how you handle customer data to align with the latest data privacy rules in your jurisdiction.
Numerous issues can arise if a company is unable to locate all of its collected customer data or reply to customers’ requests in time.
Having data software can help you resolve all these troubles with minimal investment. An advanced customer service helpdesk has programmed mechanisms that facilitate customer data privacy compliance and deliver customer solutions rapidly.
By possessing powerful helpdesk privacy features such as single sign-on (SSO) that controls authentication processes, IP restriction that grants access to your customer database only to authorized IP addresses, and back-up policies that you create and customize, you significantly increase the safety of your company’s operations. Even the restricted ticket usage feature that controls who creates and handles certain customer tickets can help you win the customer data privacy battle.
In short, choosing the right helpdesk software reduces the possibility of human error and the chance of being slapped with hefty data privacy fines!