Protecting Customer Data Like The Business Asset It Is

Customer Data

There seems to be an ever-increasing variety of different situations in which companies and organisations might come to be in possession of data relating to or belonging to their customers. For businesses, this data is recognised as being potentially of great value from a strategic and competitive standpoint but it is not yet being protected with quite the urgency and commitment that ought to be the case.

Personal Details & Data Security

Consumers around the world understand that they often have cause to give over personal details to companies or organisations. And, while this is widely accepted as being necessary in various different situations, people are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for these details to be stolen and put to criminal use. From an enterprise perspective, there is an increasing imperative to avoid being known as an organisation that doesn’t take proper care of the personal data it stores. As a result, there is a growing emphasis on the importance of effective data protections at large, small and medium-size companies alike, with weaknesses increasingly being targeted and exploited by cyber criminals.

Loss Of Customer Trust

It’s clear that consumers are becoming more concerned about the issue of whether or not their personal details are likely to be adequately protected by specific organisations based on their track record. Indeed, end-users of services are increasingly making choices on that basis and judging businesses on their trustworthiness in this context. All of which means it is clearly time for the issue to rise up the priority list. It is also generally true that customers take the issue of data protection and security breaches much more seriously than many organisations yet realise. From a strategic point of view, it is crucial to realise that personal data really matters to people and that trust in these circumstances is always going to be extremely difficult to regain once lost.

Paying The Price

It will generally be true that effectively and reliably protecting consumer data under any circumstances will require notable investment in terms of both time and money. However, the costs associated with data breaches of any kind can be almost limitless and extremely damaging to the bottom lines of businesses in any sector. Plus, it is worth being aware that these issues are not only the concern of multinational powerhouse corporations but also of small and medium-sized businesses too. The scale of losses will be relative but potentially no less impacting in real terms.

Aligning Objectives

The upshot of all this is clearly that data security is essential if organisations are to avoid financial losses and the potentially more significant loss of trust among future and existing customers. It is also true that without a clear focus on data protection, it is unlikely that any business will be able to consistently make optimal use of the data they have at their disposal. And this is increasingly becoming a key point of differentiation and competitive advantage in a growing number of industries. It is also very likely that the importance of all these issues will only increase in the coming months, years and decades. So, any organisation keen to stay ahead of its competition and retain customer trust will be looking seriously at the strategic importance of not just data but also its robust protection.

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Keith Tully is a business recovery specialist with Real Business Rescue, a firm of insolvency practitioners dedicated to helping struggling UK companies.