Technology has opened up the opportunity to collect and analyse data in almost any field and that’s exactly what’s happening. Data has become a highly valuable commodity for businesses and organisations, allowing them to make smarter decisions based on hard data rather than gut feeling. From one-person start-ups to large multinational firms, organisations of all sizes are taking advantage of the benefits data has to offer. In this article, we will cover some of these benefits but also explain why it’s equally as important to protect that data.
Why data is a commodity for businesses and organisations
Here are some of the ways this new highly valuable commodity is being used to its advantage businesses and organisations:
Improving sales – Analysing sales data will provide insights into customers’ buying behaviour. This creates the opportunity to provide tailored contracts to specific customers and help predict or optimise upselling opportunities. Data analysis will help management develop their overall sales strategy.
Better customer experience – Data will help a business understand who their customers are and what they are interested in. From this, you can create a better customer experience as well as find new services that improve this experience further. Any new services also have the bonus of increasing revenues.
Improving operations – Improving operations and making a business more efficient will bring a number of benefits. Data can help with this in a number of ways including improved quality control, reduced waste, better performance and increased processing and delivery speeds.
Why data security is so important
The amazing advantages data can provide businesses and organisations does not come without its own risks and responsibilities. When handling customer data it’s important to understand that this is people’s private information. Here are some reasons why data security is so important.
Data compliance – Increased regulations and stricter controls are being placed on handling data. The new GDPR regulation on the use of EU citizens’ data will issue fines at 4% of a company’s turnover or up to €20 million, whichever is higher.
Reputation – Misuse of data or poor data security can be catastrophic for a company’s reputation. Major breaches of data are often highly publicised and it seems like almost every week we see it on the news. If a customer believes you will not look after their private data, or do a poor job of it they will likely look elsewhere.
This is why data security is imperative for organisations, to avoid being on the wrong side of both the law and customers opinions.
How data can be protected
Data security is a big subject area and research/investment will be required to make sure a business/organisation complies with all the rules it needs to. However, there are a number of general measures a company can implement for data protection which helps ensure they are going in the right direction. These include:
Pseudonymisation – Also known as data masking, it is a method of protecting sensitive information by replacing it with fictitious data. This happens when data needs to be realistic but doesn’t have to be sensitive.
Data minimisation – This is the principle that data should only be gathered and processed if it is actually needed, rather than simply gathering as much data as possible.
Transparency – For the processing of personal data to be lawful, it must be transparent. An organisation must clearly set out in its privacy statement the “how, why, where, and what” it plans to do with people’s personal data.
There’s no question that data is a valuable commodity and we might have just seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of how it can help businesses go the extra mile. With great opportunity comes great responsibility though, and when a business handles the data of its consumers, it’s expected to protect it well.