Customer data helps you understand who your customers are, and is the most valuable asset in any business. When you know your customers, you can meet their needs and sell them the right products and services. But with a great amount of data also comes a greater risk of a data breach. That is why the Singapore Government introduced the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in 2013 to protect personal data, enforced by Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).
Knowing how to protect your customers data is important to protect your business reputation and build customer trust. Understanding how to comply with PDPA might be challenging, so we are helping you break down 5 Must-Knows to Protect Your Customers Data.
1. Understanding the Basics of when you can collect or use customers data
There are guidelines on when you are allowed to collect, use or disclose personal data. For example, your customers must be notified when you are using their personal data. The Data Protection Obligations on the PDPC website shows an overview of the guidelines all companies must adhere to.
2. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
Under the PDPA, companies must have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee the data protection responsibilities and ensure compliance with the PDPA. Although there are no requirements for a DPO, this should be someone ideally of middle/senior managerial level to guide your management and he or she can attend training courses to understand the PDPA. Alternatively, you can engage a professional DPO.
3. Have a Data Protection Plan for all employees to understand
A Data Protection Plan for your company should include clear policies aligned to the PDPA, such as SOPs and standard forms to ensure proper consent is obtained and data is protected. Not only should this plan be updated and reviewed from time to time, your employees will need to follow these processes strictly.
4. Have a Data Breach Management Plan so your employees know what to do when there is a data breach
A Data Breach Management Plan is a clear contingency plan in case of a breach of the PDPA, including SOPs on how to report and respond.
5. Establish clear contracts between you and your vendors regarding data protection
When working with external vendors involving data collection, your contract must include SOPs on how you and your vendor carry out processes to protect data such as through annual audits. This is because there are multiple parties that possess personal data from your customers. Ensure you are well-equipped today, and check out the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) website for more resources.