Tips to Protect Your Customer’s Private Information

Tips to Protect Your Customer’s Private InformationProtecting your customers’ private information can be tricky. You’d have to establish levels upon levels of security measures, new policies, or train your employees (among other things), to make sure that your customers’ personal data is handled properly.

With all the rules imposed to prioritize your customers’ privacy, here are tips on how you can protect their interests without sacrificing effective business operations. 

What Is The Privacy Act?

The Privacy Act is a law that lays down 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) that every business must comply with.

It covers how private sector organizations are expected to handle customer’s personal information and prohibits breach of confidentiality.

What Is Personal Information?

 A customers’ personal information is sensitive data or opinion that identifies a specific individual.

The information includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, date of birth, medical records, and bank account details.

These are tips on how you prevent a breach of confidentiality and uphold your customers’ privacy in the course of business operations.

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Rules 

The first step of being a reputable business who plays by the rules is familiarizing yourself with the basics.

You must be knowledgeable on how to handle customer’s personal information with every business operation that you conduct.

You can also establish internal processes that minimize privacy risks, especially those that occur due to human error.

2. Know the Key Players

You must also determine the key players who are tasked at ensuring the privacy of your customers.

You may appoint a senior staff member who will shoulder accountability for customers’ personal information.

He or she must manage the implementation of privacy measures and must be one who fully understands your privacy responsibilities.

The security personnel must be knowledgeable about the Privacy Act, handles access to the customers’ personal information, and process requests and complaints.

He or she must also constantly check that your business always observes privacy practices and is highly skilled in pinpointing privacy threats.

3. Prioritize Privacy During the Planning Process

You must always apply privacy measures every step of the way.

Be sure to remind your customers of the privacy policy whenever they change their personal information.

You can check your privacy compliance by implementing a privacy impact assessment (PIA).

This process identifies how each project impacts individuals’ privacy and make recommendations on how to handle them as you achieve your goals.

You should also instruct a privacy officer to oversee the planning phase to eliminate threats to privacy.

4. Establish a Disclosure Clause

Every business is only allowed to disclose customers’ personal information for a specific purpose.

There are, however, instances when you would need to access sensitive data for a different purpose.

When the situation calls for it, always acquire the consent of your customers before using their personal information for another purpose.

Make sure to inform them of the consequences when they allow access to their sensitive information is also required under the Privacy Act.

5. Implement Security Measures

You must take reasonable and necessary steps to protect your clients’ privacy at all times.

Achieving this requires that you install a security program that restricts unauthorized access, misuse of information, and interference or loss thereof.

You may destroy or de-identify personal information if the purpose of using them has already expired.

Make sure that you keep track of the time frame and the limitations of the use of personal information before using them again.

You can achieve this by implementing ICT, physical, and access security programs.

6. Only Access Personal Information on a Need-To-Know Basis

Your clients’ personal information must be handled with extreme care. You can minimize a breach of privacy by only collecting data on a need-to-know basis.

If your project does not require clients to supply personal data to achieve your goals, refrain from compelling them to do so.

You may also allow clients to transact anonymously when the situation so requires.

7. Impose a Data Breach Response Plan

The data breach response plan (DBRP) is a method that allows you to quickly respond in the event that a data breach occurs.

The plan deliberately decreases the collateral damage caused by data breaches.

Whenever your data bank would be infiltrated by hackers, the plan allows you to notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) immediately.

Thus, the serious harm caused by these breaches would not significantly affect individuals and allows you to retract the damage sustained.

What’s Next?

Do you have questions, clarifications, or ideas that you’d like to share?

If you answered with a “yes,” feel free to comment in the comments section below. Cheers!

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