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Data privacy: what every business needs to know

Written by Nigel Cannings on Monday, 04 October 2021. Posted in Commercial law, Audience, Legal, Sales & Marketing

Every business needs to take great care when handling data on individuals.

Data privacy: what every business needs to know

Every business needs to take great care when handling data on individuals. The past few years have delivered a whole host of challenges when it comes to secure data management. In this article, we’ll talk about the current most pressing remote working data concerns, how to keep employee data secure in an ever-changing business environment, why data is so important, what small businesses’ responsibilities are and how technology can help you with data compliance.

Not just about customer data

Some people mistakenly think that they only need to focus on customer data such as names and addresses. However, protecting employee data is also essential, as is shielding sensitive business information from prying eyes.

What challenges has remote working thrown up?

Remote working has created a whole host of security challenges. Video conferences are often recorded, and there are also big concerns about instant messages which could compromise the security of sensitive information.

Companies generally adept at protecting customer data

Most small businesses have the know-how and experience needed to protect customer data properly at this stage. Many companies are using third-party tools such as Mailchimp which do much of the data protection for them, and they know not to store customer data on spreadsheets. However, some small businesses are still falling behind when it comes to protecting employee data.

Data security challenges

Two major challenges have arisen since the growth of remote working. Employees working from home often have insecure internet connections which can compromise the protection of sensitive employee information. Companies also need to work hard to keep employee data secure in shared digital environments, ensuring team members know some data is retained as part of key business operations.

The business sector wasn’t slow to tighten up the protection of its own data, quickly revising company policies and introducing protocols including two-factor authentication. However, evidence suggests employee data hasn’t always received the same level of protection.

What can a small business do to protect employee information? 

Remote working, hybrid calendars and video calls have decentralised the field of data privacy. Although many small businesses are legally obliged to store their video interactions, many are lacking the resources to do this remotely. Specialist solutions are required by many businesses seeking to capture and archive content. Businesses also need to ensure the communications channels used by their employees are being operated appropriately without breaking any laws or regulations.

Smaller companies don’t tend to have access to the powerful eComms platforms utilised by bigger brands bringing voice and video into their operations. There are still precious few solutions available that enable smaller businesses to carry out sophisticated audio and video data mining. 

One option that could be beneficial for your business is Myna which delivers accurate and searchable records of meetings to inboxes. This tool is targeted at a wide range of businesses including creative brands and individual entrepreneurs working with teams. The tool works with Zooms, Webex and Teams, with records being saveable to Dropbox. The resource also comes with a facility known as SmartTranscript, which enables advanced searching of calls directly from email.

Key data privacy legislation

Rules around data privacy have changed frequently as technology has become more advanced. Businesses keen to tighten up their security standards and remain compliant can look at resources such as guides from the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) which answer most questions about GDPR compliance a business is likely to have.

Other key legislation that your business needs to remain compliant with include:

Data Protection Act (DPA)

The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000

RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)

It’s essential to remain aware of the personal data that you’re holding and collecting on all of your employees and customers. All this data must be stored securely, and access to it should only be granted to those that need it. Everyone must be made aware that this data is being collected. By following these principles, you can hopefully remain compliant, retain the trust of your employees and customers whilst avoiding big fines and other penalties. Treating this data with the utmost respect will also help you protect your reputation and credibility.

About the Author

Nigel Cannings

Nigel Cannings

Nigel Cannings is the CTO at Intelligent Voice. He has over 25 years' experience in both Law and Technology, is the founder of Intelligent Voice Ltd and a pioneer in all things voice. Nigel is also a regular speaker at industry events not limited to NVIDIA, IBM, HPE and AI Financial Summits.

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