While the EU has taken the lead in enforcing data security with the recent enactment of GDPR, that doesn’t mean that customer data security isn’t an important issue for all global businesses. Data security is an issue for any company that collects data on their customers and if you want to stay ahead of the game, it’s important to set up processes that provide consumers with more control over their data.
Here are some top ways you can ensure you are protecting consumer data while gathering rich and important insights.
Obtain explicit permission
One of the top ways to ensure your consumers are okay with the data you gather for market research purposes is to obtain consent. There are several ways to do this, but leaving a “paper trail” is often the best way to go. Documentation that proves you’ve obtained consent will demonstrate that you allow for participants to opt out and that you’re actively respecting their privacy.
Offering complete transparency
No firm wants to get caught up in a conundrum like the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica dilemma. Similarly, no consumer wants to find out their data has been used without their permission or knowledge–or by a company, for purposes they don’t agree with.
To avoid such a catastrophe, it’s important to implement a policy that allows subjects the right to access and obtain data. You should also be completely transparent on how and why their data is used, where it’s being accessed, and which information is accessed.
The more efforts you take to be transparent about your data usage, the more you show you care about consumer privacy.
Offer consumers the right for deletion and editing
Let’s say a consumer has consented for you to gather their data, but then they change their mind. This should be no problem if you have their security as your top priority.
Providing a way for consumers to access their data, and then opt to delete it from your study if they are not comfortable, demonstrates that you have the clients best interest in mind.
In the spirit of transparency, it’s important to not only make this an option but also to make this option visible and easy to follow through with in the event a participant does want to delete their data.
Similarly, let’s say you collected data and it ends up being incorrect. You also want your participants to have the option to view and edit data as necessary. Not only does this help you ensure privacy, but it also keeps the data you collect accurate. Anyone is prone to making mistakes, so allowing editing for corrections will only help your overall market research strategy.
Data security is important, even when it’s not enforced. Take the time to appoint an expert in your organization to vamp up your data security methods. You’ll build your credibility, help your participants trust you, and ensure your data collection methods are ethical.