To stay competitive in today’s digital age, learning how to use the power of data will take you far. In the field of marketing, data is the fuel that fires the most successful marketing campaigns. However, this often leads to an increasing reliance on data. Although it helped companies make more data-driven decisions, there lies a challenge with this level of dependence. Protecting consumer data is critical to any company that deals with this data. Sensitive customer data ranges from information on consumer demographics to their credit card details.
In that case, it’s essential for companies to implement robust security data practices for marketers to comply with in order to safeguard information. In this article, we’ll individually discuss the best practices for marketers to protect customer data. But before anything else, we must understand the value of data security.
Why Is Data Security Important?
The foundation of successful marketing is, unsurprisingly, customer trust. So when a data breach occurs, you could just imagine the ramifications it would have on your business – the major one being the loss in consumer trust. That’s something that can be difficult to regain. This leads to a domino effect – legal issues and financial loss, for example, are some of them. Hence, data security should be a top priority for any marketing team.
How Do You Protect Consumer Data?
Now that we’ve covered the importance, there lies the question: how do you protect consumer data? In this section, we’ll tackle some of the best practices.
Implement Strong Access Controls
The principle of least privilege states that a user should only have access to documents and applications that are relevant to their task, and nothing more. Limiting access to what’s necessary is one way to protect sensitive customer data. That’s why it helps to implement a system of role-based access.
Here’s a clearer example. A marketing team may consist of content creators and customer relationship managers. A content creator needs access to the content management system and other metrics including website interactions and purchase histories. There’s no reason to give them access to customer contact information as they don’t need it to fulfill their responsibilities. Meanwhile, a customer relationship manager would need that information to build and maintain client relationships. Similarly, they shouldn’t have access to content management systems or other metrics.
Utilize Secret Storage Solutions
Your team should find a way to store data safely, and that can be done by utilizing secret storage solutions. Choosing a cloud storage provider should be based on their commitment to data security. Selecting one that’s SOC 2-compliant ensures that they have stringent controls to secure data.
The importance of employee training cannot be understated, especially in an ever-changing digital landscape. With new kinds of cyberattacks popping up, marketers need to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity practices. For example, they must be able to recognize a phishing scam when they see one. If an employee falls prey to the trap, customer data will be easily compromised.
A part of employee education includes awareness of local and international regulations. This is where the handling of data can get a little blurry, as marketers often work across borders, dealing with diverse regulatory landscapes. Regulatory compliance means maintaining consumer trust and avoiding legal entanglements. Hence, educating marketers on data regulations is a must.
Note that training isn’t a one-time endeavor. Rather, it must be done continuously to ensure that marketers are aware of the latest practices, so they can recognize and respond to these threats.
Regularly Update and Patch Systems
Marketers use different types of applications in their day-to-day tasks, from marketing automation platforms to content management systems. While updating them is helpful for trying out new features, the act of updating goes beyond that.
Let’s look at it from a security perspective. If a developer finds a vulnerability in their application, they’re going to release an update that patches this. If you forget to update your software, and a bad actor makes their way to your device, then you’re screwed.
These updates are released periodically, and it’s a protective measure to keep your applications updated. If you’re the type to forget about a software update, then you can always turn on automatic updates in your settings, if the application allows you to.
Data encryption is an integral component of consumer data protection. In simpler terms, data encryption is like converting sensitive information into a cipher. This additional layer of security ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data. Thus, marketers must adopt strong encryption practices.
They must also work closely with the IT department to ensure that all systems handling customer data incorporate robust encryption practices. These practices must be regularly audited and assessed for any vulnerabilities, ensuring that customer data remains secure whether at rest or in transit.
Data fuels marketing success, but marketing success cannot be achieved without data protection. Data breaches erode customer trust, leading to legal implications and financial losses. To avoid them, marketers must use multiple approaches – from implementing strong access controls to adopting strong encryption practices. By doing so, marketing teams ensure data security and avoid the consequences of data breaches – both of which are equally crucial in a data-driven world.