It seems as if a day doesn’t go by without notification by the media of a major data breach. If you’re a member of the C-Suite of a midsize business, you probably spend a good deal of time thinking about how to protect your data as well as your business reputation.
I recently read some surprising news from a British marketing group (1) and offer it as a lesson for all businesses – no matter where your corporate headquarters may be located and how many offices you may have. In August 2014, the UK Direct Marketing Association released a new privacy code of practice to address customer concerns about data privacy. The link for the entire code is provided below (2), but the code focuses on five key principles:
 Put your customer first
 Respect privacy
 Be honest and fair
 Be diligent with data
 Take responsibility
While we all receive too much direct mail, this attention to our privacy brings the discussion about customer data to the forefront. As a result, there can only be positive outcomes:
 Businesses will implement stricter protocols regarding data protection
 Businesses will implement quicker disaster recovery procedures
 Businesses will alert customers immediately upon learning of a breach – as opposed to having the media share the news
 Businesses will inform law enforcement agencies
 Businesses will call in third-party forensics teams to determine the size of the breach and develop protocols to mitigate future breaches
If you suspect a breach or just want to keep current on the latest breaches, visit the list provided by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, whose tagline is “Empowering Consumers. Protecting Privacy.” (3)
Lastly, here’s something else I found surprising: if a member of the UK’s Direct Marketing Association breaks this new privacy code, the member will be expelled from the association. Don’t you think all businesses would spend more time and money protecting their customers’ data if there were more significant ramifications than just the equivalent of a slap on the wrist by the media? I welcome you to chime in.
(1) UK Marketing Trade Body Unveils New Code to Address Privacy Concerns:
(2) UK DMA Privacy Code:
(3) Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
Image Credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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