Why customer data protection is paramount as a business

- October 17, 2022 3 MIN READ

When it comes to keeping customer data safe, the onus is on you, the business owner, to ensure the cyber safety of your customers and your business. Co-CEO at Pin Payments, Chris Dahl, explains three top tips to stay on top of your business’ data security.

As we’ve seen from the recent Optus data breach, your business can suffer irreparable damage overnight if your security is inadequate. Cybercrime is big business and generates $1.5 trillion per year globally, money which is predominantly made through the stealing and reselling of data.

With the cybercrime market equal to Russia’s GDP, protecting and preserving your customers’ data should be a number one priority. Despite this, many businesses still fail at data protection due to a lack of understanding or education.

Three ways to tighten your business’ cyber security and data protection

If you’re handling or storing customer information that could be considered personally identifiable information (PII), establishing strong data protection strategies and policies is essential.

So, here are a few tips to help you tighten your security and protect your business and its customers. 

1. Review your data security and data protection strategies

If you haven’t done so yet, now might be the time to implement a business strategy to ensure your data is both secure and protected. Firstly, make sure any data which is collected is treated appropriately, with limited access to those who view it. Keeping the information you store private is a first vital step to ensuring there are no security breaches internally.

Secondly, review your data security and how your business protects itself from potential external threats including hackers and scammers. If your security isn’t up to scratch, but you lack the resources internally to resolve this, you might consider engaging a data privacy and protection agency that will help with your privacy compliance.

Hacker sitting in the dark surrounded by computer screens

2. Know your legal obligations as a business

In Australia, the primary legislation is The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) which protects the handling of personal information about individuals including its collection, use, storage and disclosure.

Businesses with an annual revenue of more than $3 million must comply with the Privacy Act. If your business’ annual turnover is $3 million or less, you may still be required to comply with the Privacy Act depending on your business type and the service you provide. However, most States and Territories also have their own data protection legislation, so it’s important to be aware of your legal obligations as a business.

If your business is targeted by cybercrime and you suspect your customer’s data has been leaked, under The Privacy Act, you must inform your customers about the ‘likely’ risk of harm and the Australian Information Commissioner. Likewise, if you fall victim to a cybersecurity breach as a business, report it to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

As cybercrime evolves in the legal sector, legal experts claim liability could eventually be attributed to company Directors, for failure to take reasonable care to protect customers. With that in mind, if you are a company Director or leader, it’s essential that you familiarise yourself with your legal obligations, as failing to do so could cost your business.

3. Be proactive, not reactive

Identifiable data, such as bank cards, passports and addresses can be used to breach an individual’s bank accounts, email accounts and open new accounts in their name. At Pin Payments, part of our Know Your Customer (KYC) protocol requires customers to take biometric selfies, that way we can verify whether the person matches their ID photo and documents.

The recent data breaches of notable big brands has put this front-of-mind for many businesses again. If a business as large as Optus can have 9.7 million customers’ data leaked, so can you.

Ultimately, the best protection for your business is to manage your data proactively, so make sure you are putting measures in place now to safeguard your customer data.

For more information on how to protect your customer’s data as a business visit the Australian Government website for businesses or OAIC to access their Privacy Checklist for Small Business

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Now read this: 

Are you taking the right steps to protect against a cyber attack?