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Data protection is no more a choice,’ says expert

March 3, 2021
finance & economy

Data protection and privacy is no more a choice, it’s mandatory for software firms for their survival, says Mr. Hyther Nizam, President – MEA at Zoho Corp, global technology provider of the most extensive suite of business solutions that cater to over 60 million customers in the world including Bahrain.

“As the everyday interactions of software firms with digital services increase, today’s customers are apprehensive about what information they are putting out on the web about themselves, who has access to the data, and how the concerned party handles it,” he added.

According to Mr. Nizam, this will also drive software vendors to rethink their revenue models, especially those who rely on running third-party ads within their services for their business continuity. “Organisations that keep pace with this changing public mood and build a privacy programme that’s aligned with their daily operations, corporate policies, goals, and vision will be better equipped to maintain customer trust and loyalty in the coming years.”

“As more customers become increasingly aware about their data protection and privacy rights, they will prefer to trust businesses that not only showcase adequate protective measures to keep the former’s data safe from malicious parties, but also do not resell customer information to data aggregators or other third-party companies,” he said further.

“Today’s businesses have to comply with not just national but also regional, international, and industry-specific data protection and privacy laws to ensure regulated usage of customer data. Choosing the right technology partners is a significant aspect of data protection and privacy for businesses,” Mr. Nizam added.

While the risk is everywhere irrespective of size and industry, small companies are more vulnerable because their tight budgets cannot afford tools and investments needed for data protection projects. In such circumstances, the responsibility lies with the software providers and vendors to do the work on the business’s behalf.

The basic but important measures to keep in mind include implementing a basic security framework for business processes which enforces procedures like network monitoring tools, platform security measures. It is also important to train employees extensively, distribute data handling guidelines across internal forums, and inculcate cybersecurity or privacy as core workplace values. Businesses also need to make sure that data storage practices are in line with cross-border transfer restrictions in said region.

“Thanks to privacy laws like the GDPR and similar regulations, software vendors can demonstrate their commitment to customer privacy and security by proving compliance with these legal mandates,” Mr. Nizam concluded.