Putting Security First in a Data Driven World
What We are Discussing
Any business that has a digital footprint is likely to deal with consumer data at some level which involves personal information. This consumer data can take many forms, each having different methods for handling and securing. While large corporations have an abundance of resources to deal with all forms of data, most small to medium businesses focus on personally identifiable information (PII) when managing data with extreme care. This form of consumer data includes anything that directly identifies an individual; think home addresses, email addresses, full names, credit card information, IP addresses, driver’s licenses, phone numbers, and so on.
Why is Data Security Important?
The most important aspect of receiving data is that a thorough protection strategy must be followed. Personally identifiable information is extremely sensitive and especially in today’s digital age, must be looked after closely. Consumers everywhere are becoming smarter to the risks of data misuse. Look back in the past and you will see any company that let sensitive consumer data become breached suffered immense penalties, whether losing consumer trust, or having to pay fines. According to Security Magazine, WhatsApp lost millions of customers and Amazon was fined a whopping $887 million due to issues with consumer data privacy. It is not just more prominent firms either. Small and medium sized businesses are implicated in data security issues too. A study conducted in 2019 by Ponemon, a privacy analysis firm, found that 72% of small and medium businesses were involved in one or more cyberattacks that year. Data security is a crucial topic in any size business circle.
How Kessler Creative Ensures Data Security
Kessler Creative receives an ample amount of consumer data both from clients and everyday consumers that our clients wish to target. We classify this data as either Category A (extremely sensitive/personally identifiable information) or Category B (public information). While specific laws and regulations vary from state to state, type of data, and even from country to country, there are core principles to follow when overseeing data: confidentiality, accountability, and transparency. We take the upmost care when managing each piece of data that enters our doors and have detailed procedures for each of the core principles listed above. One way we ensure data security is by requesting identification of all data being shared prior to the actual share date as to take the proper safeguards in advance. We also have our customers and clients remove data that is not required to perform the services we are hired for and will delete any list that has more than the minimum required data. We use secure networks such as Citrix ShareFile to transfer data and will notify all parties associated of the selected transfer method prior to the act. Sensitive data can only be viewed by authorized individuals within Kessler Creative as identified by our Compliance Officer, Chief Executive Officer, or President. Upon completion of services that require sensitive data, we quickly work to ensure job accuracy and proceed to delete any list of data from our servers to reduce risk of old data being targeted for breach.
A Few Notes When Thinking Data Security
- Understand the data you are dealing with
Having clear knowledge of the information being collected, what it gets used for, where it will be stored, and whether it is passed on to other parties is vital for progressing through the proper steps of securing data.
- Understand specific laws that will apply to you or your business
Legal procedures and laws will vary by state and country, so maintaining knowledge of what applies to you and what does not depending on location is also key in defining adequate data security measures. If you are struggling to find exact laws or regulations, a great reference is to follow the General Data Protection Regulation rules as they are among the strictest around.
- VPN use or other encryption methods
Using encrypted virtual private networks will allow an individual to access data safely in any public or private setting. VPNs create an isolated tunnel that no one else can see into when accessing secure information.
- Make data oversight someone’s responsibility
Even for the smallest of businesses that do not have a designated compliance officer, it is essential to assign the duties of protection and security of data to an individual as to maintain stability. If these tasks are not someone’s responsibility, data protection will fade and become an afterthought.
Data security is tremendously important to current and future success. Consumers are becoming weary of how their information is used across the digital realm and will limit their interaction with a brand that misuses data. Securing data is a tall task that requires extreme care and due diligence, but with the right priorities, any business can work to improve data security and improve awareness of security issues in an ever-changing digital world.