Everyone knows you should protect your customers’ data, but where does your ethical responsibility lie in the event of a breach?
It’s hard to remember a time before data was a centerpiece of everyone’s lives. From pursuing an education to receiving healthcare, it’s hard to think of a single aspect of everyday life that doesn’t require sharing data in one form or another. The result is massive, constant data creation. In fact, the IDC predicts that by 2025, worldwide data will have multiplied to 175 zettabytes — over five times the amount of data in 2018.
With so much data for modern companies to keep track of, it’s unsurprising that data privacy has become one of the biggest topics of discussion over the past decade. When it comes to personally identifiable information (PII) in particular, it’s natural for people to worry about whether the organizations that handle their data are keeping it secure. After all, PII alone can potentially give attackers enough information to engage in identity theft, compromise their online accounts, and even take out loans in a victim’s name.
In an era during which it is nearly impossible to exist without a digital footprint — and a time when data breaches are inevitably occurring — consumers are expressing growing concerns about data privacy. The question is: what is an organization’s ethical responsibility when it comes to safeguarding data, and are you doing enough to protect your customers?
In order to earn and keep customer trust today, organizations need to make a concerted effort to prioritize data privacy. As concerns about (and threats to) data privacy grow, proactive cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly essential component of handling data ethically. While ethical business practices may have once referred to upholding fair labor standards or maintaining a safe work environment, ethics today must also consider data privacy and the management of cybersecurity risks.
For organizations who deal with a good amount of personal information on behalf of their customers, taking steps to keep data secure from threats is at the center of the question of ethical responsibility and data privacy. Of course, cybercriminals are notoriously savvy, meaning that organizations can do all the right things to protect their customers’ data and still find that a bad actor has managed to get through. In light of that, the question remains: where does a business’s ethical responsibility begin and end?
Anyone who has control over their customers’ personal information has a responsibility to protect their data privacy by taking every reasonable step to protect that data. If they have taken those steps and a successful data breach still occurs, they are neither legally nor ethically responsible for the fallout.
Of course, even if a data breach doesn’t constitute an “ethical violation” for an organization, it can still cause irreparable damage in the form of both brand reputation and financial costs. Because of that, it is in an organization’s best interest — as well as that of its customers’ — to undertake reasonable efforts to detect cyber intrusion and prevent data loss.
While there is no set definition for what constitutes a “reasonable effort” to protect customer data, there are a few measures organizations should take to strengthen cybersecurity:
In this day and age, all companies need to have a good grasp of IT ethics — even if they’re in an industry that wouldn’t typically be associated with tech at all. A trusted security partner, like Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI), can help you take the appropriate cybersecurity measures you need to protect your customers’ data. By ensuring these steps are taken, you can focus on what you’re good at — while still upholding your legal and ethical responsibilities to keep customer data secure.
With three decades of experience securing networks, TTI is prepared to help your organization prevent data loss and maintain a good reputation. If you’re interested in learning more about how TTI can help you maintain data privacy, contact us today.
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