Deep-Clean Your Data: Three Cybersecurity Trends
With warmer days right around the corner, maybe your sales team is interested in doing some virtual spring cleaning. In particular, you might want to ensure all of your customer data is tucked away safely where it belongs.
Cybersecurity might not be the flashiest topic, but it’s becoming more important than ever. Almost every organization with a sales team now has the ability to store, transpose, and exchange huge amounts of data about their customers and prospects. With great power, though, comes great responsibility. For the sake of yourself, your clients, and the public, it’s important to stay in compliance with ever-changing data security regulations.
VSA has been looking closely at several regulatory areas that most sales teams would do well to give special attention. Here are three of the biggest:
List-building technology has become highly sophisticated, to the point where lead generation teams can access a tremendous amount of information about individuals and companies simply by purchasing a list. As a result, public interest groups and government agencies have been scrutinizing such transactions more carefully, leading to the emergence of “Right to Know” regulations in several jurisdictions.
First came the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Implemented in the European Union in 2016, the GDPR requires that companies both utilize reasonable safeguards against data theft and allow European consumers to learn what data is being collected about them, opt out of further collection, or request that the information be deleted.
A few years later, the largest state in the US implemented a similar law—the California Consumer Privacy Act. The CCPA goes even further than the GDPR by requiring companies to proactively give notice to Californians about any data they’re collecting. And while the regulation currently only applies in the Golden State, experts expect that many other US-based jurisdictions will soon follow suit.
Whether you’re purchasing calling lists in-house or working with a third-party partner, these regulations underscore how important it is stay abreast of how legislatures balance the rights of individual consumers with the presence of big data in the modern economy. If you don’t, both you and your partner could get into real trouble.
Now that almost everyone is working remotely, sales organizations are using more tools to collect, track, and share data. Instead of internal servers, many are using the cloud.
This adds a tremendous amount of flexibility to their operations, but also adds complexity when it comes to complying with certain privacy regulations—such as HIPAA and FERPA, which protect individual privacy in the healthcare and education verticals, respectively.
HIPAA in particular has undergone drastic changes in the past year to keep pace with the influx of new vendors and data-sharing methods. As markets keep evolving, even more changes are expected.
What won’t change, though, are the financial consequences of violating these customer privacy laws. It’s crucial to take proactive steps to ensure your team’s ability to adjust to further changes. This is no time to leave that old data unattended!
Hackers, identity theft, and cybercrime
Finally, it’s hard to ignore this harrowing statistic: cybercrime has been skyrocketing, with hacking incidents increasing fourfold since the onset of the pandemic.
The major uptick in criminal activity underscores the importance of protecting both yourself and your customers. In this arena, too, there’s new legislation setting a standard. In 2019, New York passed the SHEILD (Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security) Act, requiring any business storing sensitive information about New York residents (including full names or social security numbers) to both implement reasonable security safeguards and notify those customers in the event of a security breach. Meanwhile, the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requires all companies processing electronic payments to comply with globally-accepted standards about how financial data, such as credit card or bank account numbers, is encrypted and stored.
On this front, too, further regulations are expected—though when it comes to cybercrime, most sales leaders don’t need to be reminded twice of the importance of ensuring that both their business and their clientele are safe.
Getting a Handle on Compliance
Clearly, each of these three trends have serious implications for companies who share files of potentially sensitive data. That’s why at VSA we’re taking every step possible to stay clean, compliant, and safe.
In addition to our already robust data security measures, we’re teaming up with a premier compliance consultant on both strategic and tactical measures to ensure that all of our data is tucked snugly away, both now and into the future. At VSA, it’s definitely the season for spring cleaning. We’re always happy to chat more about this—believe it or not, we actually like talking about data security! Just give us a call.