Regardless of the size or industry of your business, you most likely rely on data to make decisions, improve workflows, and increase revenue. But the more data you collect, the greater the risk of your organization falling victim to a costly and harmful data security incident.
While there is no way to completely protect your business from data breaches, you should be taking steps to minimize the risk. Any data your business collects from customers is data that you are responsible to protect. Customers trust you to keep their data confidential. At FormAssembly, we believe that practicing a data stewardship mindset is a critical part of protecting your business — and protecting your customers’ data too.
What is data stewardship?
Data stewardship is the practice of taking responsibility for keeping customer data secure during data collection, management, and any other usage. It should guide your data policies and procedures to help reduce security risks while adhering to data privacy regulations.
A mindset that data ownership transfers from a customer to a business once the information is submitted is an outdated, dangerous approach. Moving from a mindset of data ownership to one of data stewardship means your business is being ethical and responsible for sensitive data while in its care.
The link between data stewardship and business security
Data stewardship involves five key tenets that should guide how your business manages customer data. Adopting these tenets into your business policies and procedures can help keep the data of your customers, employees, vendors, and partners secure.
- Lawfulness: If you collect customer data, your business most likely must comply with data privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR or GLBA. These laws vary depending on your industry and where your business is located. Maintaining compliance with these laws will keep your business protected from fines, customer distrust, and reputation damage.
- Fairness: Protecting your business also involves adopting ethical practices when it comes to collecting customer data. This means customers have the right to be informed about your data collection practices and freely give consent to sharing their data with you.
- Transparency: A key part of protecting your business is keeping a good reputation with customers. This starts and ends with building trust through transparency. Your customers should know how you will be collecting, using, and sharing the data they are entrusting to you.
- Relevancy: Distrust over your business processes and intentions with customer data often start at the point of collection — in the questions on your form. Only collect the data you need to complete certain tasks and never ask for data that is irrelevant. Once you no longer need certain data, it should be deleted.
- Security: Data stewardship practices also help ensure that your business stays secure and compliant. This involves your entire organization. Maintaining regular security awareness training and policy audits can help protect your business from a data breach caused by employees.
How FormAssembly helps improve data stewardship at your organization
Adopting a data stewardship mindset at your organization will take time and effort, but it has significant benefits for your team, customers, and other stakeholders. Our mission at FormAssembly is to help organizations become good stewards of the data entrusted to them. To ensure this, our platform offers centralized data collection with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards. Currently, FormAssembly is compliant with GLBA, HIPAA, CCPA, GDPR, is FedRAMP Ready, and is ISO 27001, PCI DSS, and SOC 2 Type 2 certified.
Partnering with FormAssembly helps our customers improve their data stewardship practices with an all-in-one solution that provides security, compliance, and visibility into data collection processes.
Interested in learning more about how data stewardship practices can protect your organization? Read our whitepaper by FormAssembly CEO and Founder, Cedric Savarese, Understanding the Importance of Data Stewardship.