Managing customer data is a big part of business operations. Businesses now collect more data than ever before and this data has to be protected. There have been so many data breaches in recent years, which makes it much more important that businesses find ways to handle and manage customer data properly. The good news is that businesses have a lot of options and strategies to manage customer data. Below we will look at a few of them.
Gather Client Data Ethically
Trust is an important component when building a relationship between a business and its customers. Because of this, businesses must let their customers know when and how they collect customer data. One of the ays to do this is to provide opt-in options at all points where you collect customer data. This can be on the sign-up, login, or registration forms.
Invest in Security
The cost of a data breach can be very high and it might even bring your business down. The best way to ensure that this does not happen is to invest in security. The first point of entry is on your website, so ensure it is secure. An SSL certificate is a good way of encrypting user data before it is sent to a server. An SSL certificate provides the first line of defense against man-in-the-middle attacks.
Next, ensure that your web hosting service provides adequate protection against hacking. This can be through the provision of robust and up-to-date software on their servers. Even with this basic protection, ensure that all software you use on your end, such as a content management system, is up to date.
If you send and receive a lot of documents to and from your clients, you should use a secure service to do so. Companies that need this level of protection use a virtual deal room. This is a software that protects your documents using several systems such as permission-based user access roles and more.
Use a Customer Management Database
Spreadsheets can get bulky, especially when you need to manage a lot of user data. Because of this, it would be wise to invest in customer database software. This is not only a much more secure way of storing, managing, and retrieving user data, it is also easier for you and your employees to use.
If you want to go further, you can connect your customer management database to analytics software so you can get valuable insights into your customers.
Backup Your Data
Although data loss is highly likely to occur, there is one thing you can do to ensure you do not lose all your data if something goes wrong; backup your data. A data backup and recovery plan must include an on-site backup plan, plus up to three offsite backups depending on the type of business you run and how sensitive the data is. Ensure that all links to the backup server as well as the server itself are all secure so that you do not introduce a new vulnerability into your data management pipeline.
Do Frequent Data Audits
When you have a customer management database in place, it is easy to forget that data can become outdated quickly. This data can be expensive to store and may be wasting your resources. To ensure that you are not storing outdated and data that is no longer useful, do frequent data audits.
Start by checking which users have not logged in for some time. For these users, you can remove them from your database. For the rest of the users, you should update their details including email addresses, credit card numbers, physical addresses, and more.
Also, check that you do not have duplicate contacts, as they may also be wasting your resources.
Teach Your Employees to Handle Data
It can be devastating when a user error results in the loss of customer data. Training your employees on how to handle data as well as manage the data management systems you have in place will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Managing user data will not only save you trouble and headaches in the future, but it might also help stave off lawsuits. Ensure your business follows best practices to ensure you are managing user data the right way to avoid any potential problems.