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Your Small Business and Data Privacy
April 9, 2021 at 4:00 AM
This is an image of data privacy for a small business.

Part of running your small business means ensuring your customers’ private data is safe and secure. As a small business, data privacy should be at the forefront of how you manage your business. Your responsibility as a business owner is to protect details such as credit card information, addresses, and any other sensitive information your customers give to you. A data breach can be devastating to a small business and losing customer trust will have serious financial and brand repercussions. That’s why it’s important to have a secure system in place that protects your customers’ data and thus, your business.

What is Data Privacy?

Let’s first establish what data privacy is. Simply put, it is consent from your customers to collect and use their data, letting your customers know about your privacy policy and any changes you make to it, and giving customers the option to access and delete their data.

Industry-Specific Data Privacy Rules

Each industry has its own specific privacy regulations, some more stringent than others. The health industry, for example, must abide by HIPAA regulations to ensure they stay compliant with rules for keeping medical information safe. Financial business information is also differently regulated. It’s important for business owners in any industry to find out if there are specific data privacy rules that apply to them.

How to Maintain Data Privacy as a Small Business

As a small business, it’s important to keep track of any devices used to conduct business transactions. Employee laptops, cellphones, flash drives, etc should be optimized for data safety. What type of data is stored and where it’s stored should also be an area of concern for a small business. For small businesses with multiple employees, keep track of which employees have access to customer data and do regular checks to ensure that past employees no longer have access to sensitive information.

We recommend collecting as little data as possible about your customers. While this may seem counter-productive, it’s a very effective measure in keeping data safe. For example, if you are a restaurant that allows customers to make online reservations, do you really need their address? Or if you are a vet clinic, do you need your customer’s date of birth? The less data you have to manage the better.

There are many steps you can take to ensure data privacy. From encrypted emails and messages to anti-malware programs and training your employees on cybersecurity, having a data privacy strategy in place should be part of any business plan.

How ITs Managed Can Help

ITs Managed has been serving the Oregon area’s small businesses IT needs for many years and our clients include vet clinics, libraries, machine shops, restaurants, accountants, and more. We can work with you to help you understand which customer data you need to collect, how to protect it, and what to do in case of a data breach. Our experience means we do everything within our power to ensure a breach doesn’t occur at all! Depending on how hands-on you want to be, we can take over the management of sensitive data for your business so you can focus on what matters – growing your business.