data privacy

Navigating Data Privacy Updates as a Startup

During the pandemic, more people shopped online and shared their personal information than ever before. In addition to regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consumers are much savvier about what information they give up and how companies might use it. If you want to keep your new clients happy and also meet any regulations, you have to be aware of what rules exist and why.

For the second time in the history of the Allianz Risk Barometer survey, cyber incidents hit the top of the list, with 44% of respondents indicating concern. Cyber threats ranked even higher than worries over COVID-19 and broken supply chains.

Since so many are worried about their data falling into the wrong hands, it isn’t surprising that worries over data privacy increased in the last few years. Just how can you navigate keeping information secure as a newer company? Here are our best tips for staying on top of the latest regulations and embracing top-notch security habits, while still gathering enough data to grow your business.

Know the rules

The first step in figuring out how to navigate the world of data privacy is understanding the rules and regulations surrounding your industry. You have to know if the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to you and how. You also may fall under California’s privacy laws.

What are the regulations within your industry? Do any of them apply to privacy? Finally, what do your customers expect from you? Just because it isn’t a written rule doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time and effort ensuring data remains confidential.

As a startup, you’ll need to collect data from your users. Knowing how to keep that information safe is a vital part of doing business in 2022.

Only ask for what you need

Nearly every startup needs some research on their customers. However, only ask new clients for what you absolutely need. Avoid repeating yourself. Customers grow frustrated when they have to share the same information over and over again.

Using an identity graph lets you collect data from a variety of sources, such as customer input, e-commerce software and marketing platforms. You can also combine data from online and offline sources.

For example, consumers in the United States use mobile devices for a big portion of their online browsing. Much of the information is already available, so there’s no need to gather it again and risk exposing it to cyber theft.

Keep only what you need

At the same time, you shouldn’t store customer data for years when you no longer need it. As a startup, it’s hard to look to the future and worry about the right time to destroy the personal data you have on file. However, your company will grow and time will pass faster than you think. Prepare now by implementing some policies concerning data storage.

Regulations such as the GDPR demand you have a policy in place and that it is easy for your customers to locate and understand. Be as specific as possible. You can always update your policy to reflect changes in your industry, business, and local and international laws.

Seek cloud computing

A good third-party cloud computing service gives you a secure location to store files and will keep you aware of data privacy updates as they occur. Smaller startups may not have the funds for a legal team to review every small portion of running a business. You’ll need to rely on your support services to ensure you’re compliant.

Make sure you choose a cloud computing provider that adopts the latest version of security software. They should have a team watching for potential hackers and data breaches. They may also have a repository of data you can call on to learn more about your potential customers as a whole.

Pay attention to cases

One way you can avoid data privacy regulation issues is by watching what cases are brought to court against large and small companies. Knowing what issues other brands face allows you to avoid them before they occur.

You should also read stories about data breaches. How did the hackers get in? Is there anything you can do to avoid the same type of attack?

Make updates routine

You’ll want to frequently update your own data privacy policy. As a startup, you’ll notice things along the way and need to make changes as your brand grows. Make it a regular part of your weekly routine to update your privacy policy and double-check security measures.

It’s also a good idea to put one person in charge of ensuring things get updated in a timely manner and that the company follows all regulations. Having too many people on the task increases the odds others think someone else is making updates. The last thing you want is to go months without making changes and have to try to completely revamp your paperwork all at once.

Hire a consultant

If you still feel overwhelmed by all the regulations and concerns with data privacy, hire a consultant to keep an eye on things for you. You may not yet have the funds to appoint a full-time in-house gatekeeper, but you can pay a contracted employee a few hours a week to make updates and stay on top of things.

A consultant might also have more working knowledge of current data privacy standards. Investing a little more in data protection will help keep your new business name positive in the eyes of consumers. As a startup, you don’t want reputation damage caused by a cyberattack.

Review recent changes

Be aware of changes in regulations. For example, China now imposes hefty fines for companies failing to protect consumer data. Even companies that do business with China have to proceed with caution.

Most business owners are aware of the GDPR and that they must have protections in place for citizens of the European Union or potentially face fines.

Startups should also be aware that Google is phasing out third-party cookies. The lack of consumer browsing data is particularly challenging to smaller companies without the funds to invest in additional tracking software. Around 41% of marketers fear they’ll have a problem tracking the right data to meet target audience needs.

Focus on success

Even though data privacy continues to change as technology advances and more people do business online, you can still find success as a brand. Take data privacy one step at a time and maintain focus on creating an amazing customer experience. Ultimately, data privacy is just common sense and keeping your customers’ data as safe as possible.

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