Data Privacy | smb

It’s that time again: January 28th is Data Privacy Day. Established in 1991, Data Privacy Day should remind everyone that compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is an important reason to take protecting customer data seriously.

The number of local, state, federal, and international laws regarding privacy protection and data breaches seems to grow all the time. If it’s not the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, then it’s the recent Colorado Data Protection Law that requires businesses to develop a written policy for document destruction when data is no longer needed. The Colorado legislation also requires businesses to develop a detailed policy for handling data breaches.

Many experts also believe the Colorado law will likely serve as an example for a growing number of states looking to strengthen privacy and data-protection laws.

Failure to comply with applicable privacy laws and regulations isn’t just illegal. It’s also expensive. The average cost of a data breach in the United States is $7.91M. The average loss in business after a data breach is $4.2M. Even small businesses that may not suffer losses quite that steep can still expect to pay an average of $233 per stolen record.

However, as compelling as it is, the cost of non-compliance isn’t the only reason to take data breaches and privacy protection so seriously. Data Privacy Day isn’t just about making sure companies comply with the law. In 2019 and beyond, the companies that dominate their industry will treat customers like actual human beings rather than anonymous widgets with credit cards.

So what is the best way to demonstrate the authentic human quality customers are looking for?

The answer is simple: Companies demonstrate a human touch by caring for their customers in a meaningful way. Doing that requires more than just branding yourself as a company that cares. You can spend all the time and money in the world branding yourself as a “company that cares” or a “company with a human touch”—only to see all the time and money that went into your brand wasted when your customers’ financial and personal lives are destroyed by a data breach.

Seriously, how can a company say it truly values the relationships it has with its customers, while simultaneously having a data-protection policy that consists of tossing their sensitive information in a dumpster behind the building?

Secure document destruction and compliance with regulatory and legal data-protection requirements isn’t just about preventing your small- or medium-size business from suffering a crippling fine or lawsuit.

Protecting sensitive data shows customers they are more than just an open wallet. Taking data protections seriously reinforces what most company owners already know:

Success as an SMB requires a real, meaningful relationship with your customer.

Consumers—especially Millennial and Generation Z customers—expect a company to treat them with thoughtfulness and respect. Your best friend wouldn’t ask for your social security or credit card number, write it down on a Post-It note, and toss it on top of a garbage can they share with their roommates—and neither should a business you’ve trusted with your most sensitive and valuable data.

At CSR Privacy Solutions, we help small and medium-size businesses stay in compliance with applicable privacy and data-protection laws. We also help SMBs deliver the care and thoughtfulness their customers expect by helping those businesses protect sensitive customer information. Every single member of our team takes protecting sensitive information seriously.

Here, every day is Data Privacy Day.

Protecting customer data isn’t just about protecting yourself from fines or financial loss.

Taking a customer’s fundamental right to privacy seriously is also about telling your customer you value them as human beings.

And that’s exactly the type of company your next customer is looking for.

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