One of the biggest threats currently facing businesses in the UK is that of a cyber attack. Hackers attack every 39 seconds, which costs businesses, on average, £110 per record that is breached

Increasingly, these cyber criminals are focusing on data theft, rather than business disruption. This increase in cyber attacks, high-profile data breaches making the news, and the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), has brought the subject of data privacy to the attention of both businesses and customers.

Business-critical data

Business information, in the form of electronic data, is the most critical element for the functioning of any business. Whether that’s data related to the business or its customers, this information provides valuable feedback to help businesses grow through improved processes and marketing.      

To maximise the learnings from business data, it must be shared with data processors and third-party agencies who run complex AI algorithms to analyse patterns of business-critical information. However, this puts the data at risk of a breach.

There’s nothing wrong with a business capturing and analysing customer data in this way, but their customers have the right to know how their data is being used and to give permission. This led to the introduction of GDPR in 2018, which requires businesses to gain customers’ consent to use their personal data.

GDPR also requires businesses to store personal data securely. The only way to protect electronic data is by using proper encryption technologies, which give the business complete control of the encryption keys. Without the keys, then the data is as good as not protected. 

4 ways data privacy affects business

Data privacy directly affects the four mainstays of any business – customer trust, operational efficiency, the bottom line and compliance. In addition, each business will have its own indirect effects, depending on the sector.

  • Customer trust

The growth of any business is directly proportional to the trust their customers have in it. Without trust, a business will cease to exist.

58% of customers are more loyal to businesses with strong data privacy and security controls

Large companies, such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, invest heavily in building trust with their customers to ensure they return time and time again. Customers feel confident that these companies care about them, and their confidential data, and that they are taking measures to protect it. 

However, as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal proved, this is not always the case, and breaching that customer trust can be irreparably damaging to a company’s reputation. 

In today’s electronic age, where customer bases are fast moving, it is paramount to ensure that customer data is considered a super-sensitive asset, which needs to be properly secured.

  • Operational efficiency

To beat the competition, businesses need a better product and better delivery. While the customer doesn’t see the business process, efficiency in handling and protecting customer data will give businesses the edge over their competitors by speeding up operations. 

The percentage of organisations saying they receive significant business benefits from privacy [regulations] (e.g., operational efficiency, agility, and innovation) has grown to over 70%.” 

With the coronavirus pandemic seeing unprecedented numbers of employees working from home, having efficient and secure data privacy processes is essential. Secured data allows businesses to run remotely, improving operational efficiency. 

  • The bottom line 

Businesses are built to make profit; profit that benefits the individuals working for the business, as well as the entire chain of suppliers to the company. Any breakdown in the process will have a direct impact on the service industry.

Over the past decade, as businesses rely more on the internet and cloud technology, hackers have exploited this weakness and have seen the potential in targeting businesses for their data. Once a system has been breached, customer data can be modified to divert revenue to the hackers, resulting in major revenue loss for the business. 

As well as the direct loss of revenue, businesses who suffer a data breach also lose the trust of their customers, negatively impacting revenue further.

87% of consumers will go to a competitor if they don’t trust a company’s data protection policies 

  • Compliance

The introduction of GDPR in 2018 has forced businesses to take data protection seriously – or face penalties. 

The purpose of such regulations is to protect customers, not to penalise businesses. In fact, when businesses implement data privacy measures by using tools that encrypt and protect data in storage and transit, if a data leak does take place, regulators are more lenient on the penalties. 

It’s only when businesses do not make any effort to protect their customers’ data that the penalties are heavy, such has been the case with Google, British Airways and Marriott Hotels recently. 

Data Privacy is not just a compliance requirement but an investment that will give clear returns

To improve your business’s data protection, you need to recognise the risks and take accountability.  

Galaxkey provides software to help businesses protect their data, both in storage and transit. With the simple-to-use tools, including email and file encryption, businesses can easily secure their customer data. 

With Galaxkey email encryption, emails are encrypted even when stored in cloud mail systems. The business holds the encryption key, making their business-critical data unusable to third parties and hackers.  

For sharing files, Galaxkey Secure Workspace allows organisations to set up their own Secure File Sharing platforms within their network. The files are stored completely securely and only the businesses can control who has access to them.

To find out more about how Galaxkey can help your business improve their data protection efforts and secure business-critical data from the risk of cyber attack, get in touch today.