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Ensuring security throughout the customer lifecycle

It is important during the current COVID-19 crisis that organizations don’t take their eye of the data privacy and protection ball. This article by Chris Mullaney will discuss how businesses can ensure enterprise-grade data protection during the customer communications cycle.

As the age of digital transformation continues to evolve and grow, there are a few critical trends emerging that are shaping the way companies of all sizes and industries are doing business. The first being the importance of customer experience and customer journeys. For example, the 2019 State of Service report from Salesforce found that 80 percent of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products. While Deloitte identified customer-centric companies as 60 percent more profitable than companies that don’t focus on its customers. Companies are now taking a closer look and investing more in providing one-of-a-kind experiences for customers both pre and post-sale.

The other critical trend that is growing in importance is the emphasis on compliance, data privacy, and the protection of personal information. Protecting customer data is not only the right thing to do, it is also increasingly becoming key to powering the growth of a business.

In order to achieve this, let’s look at best practices business leaders and security professionals can take to ensure customer data is secured throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Pre-sale security

It is critical for businesses to look at the areas where they are currently doing business and the regions where they are communicating with potential customers in order to adhere to regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield, and more.

Companies also need to be aware of industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA, FINRA, etc. This is particularly important as the inability to maintain current and achieve new industry-specific certifications may hinder a company’s ability to grow into an industry leader or expand into new markets and opportunities.

Data security and protection is not only becoming increasingly more important to customers, it is also growing as an integral part of how companies determine who to partner with. Along with taking the necessary steps to achieve compliance, businesses must be able to show that data privacy and the protection of personal data is a core pillar of their business.

Post-sale security

As critical as pre-sale security is, it is only one part of securing the entire customer journey. The other part, and arguably the more essential part, is making sure customer data is safe and protected after the purchase.

Ensuring this high level of post-sale security starts with employee education and training. Even with strong data protection protocols in place, companies and their data are only as safe as their employees allow them to be. Every employee, whether they are handling customer data or not needs to be aware and updated on data security laws, certifications, best practices, and trainings such as regular phishing and malware tests.

The next element of establishing strong post-sale security revolves around transparency. Customers want to know what data is being collected and how it is being used. And now, along with customers, many regulations state that company’s must not only be able to outline exactly how they are using customer data, but must also be able to provide customers with the ability to opt-out or retrieve their data at any time.

Being able to show customers that the required steps are being taken in order to ensure the protection of their personal data can go a long way in making customers feel comfortable, secure, and willing to continue purchasing your products and investing in your business.

Make data protection a competitive advantage

Today more than ever, companies want to know their data is secure and that valuable and personal customer information is protected throughout their journey. Companies that are able to not only understand the importance of this, but act on it, are the ones who will be creating lasting experiences for customers and will be the ones who are able to truly showcase how data protection and privacy throughout the customer lifecycle can become key to driving business growth.

The author

As UJET’s Vice President of Compliance, Chris Mullaney is dedicated to ensuring compliance and data protection success by implementing comprehensive privacy policies, data protection, and information security and compliance management systems. Prior to UJET, Chris led teams at Microsoft in compliance, and security and data protection and led her own consulting company. Chris is a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E), and ISACA Member.

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