If you are a data professional, the word “compliance” has become a bigger part of your vocabulary than ever lately. Data privacy laws have proliferated in recent years, risks and potential penalties for violations have increased, and customers and prospects are more aware of their rights than ever.
These laws all have one thing in common: the need for accurate contact data. In this article, I would like to give you an overview of why validating your contact data assets, at the time of data entry and prior to contact campaigns, is the single most important best practice you can implement to mitigate these compliance risks. Let’s look at three of the biggest compliance areas today:
1. Marketing permission
We are increasingly part of an opt-in world, where unwanted marketing contact is often heavily penalized. The wrong email address can run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act, bad contact data can violate the strict opt-in provisions of GDPR, and texting to a cell phone that has changed hands violates the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Few companies intentionally set out to violate laws like these. Instead, violations often occur organically as a result of data quality issues. Bad data comes into your system at the point of entry, contact data changes over time, and existing contacts change roles. Avoiding these preventable risks is one reason why a proactive approach for having clean contact data is central.
2. Breach notification
Something goes wrong. Your customers’ data falls into the wrong hands. How quickly could you notify each of these customers about what happened?
In the aftermath of recent data privacy laws, ranging from the European Union’s GDPR regulation to the Federal HIPAA act for electronic health care data, breach notification has become a key compliance concern for data professionals worldwide. According to this article, such data breaches represent one of the most likely sources of legal exposure, from both individuals and data protection authorities. And breaches themselves have proliferated to the extent that one source even features an “incident of the week.”
This is one area where accuracy AND responsiveness matter from a compliance standpoint. In the former case, risks include failure to notify affected individuals as well as liability for being out of compliance. In the latter case, speed of response is increasingly becoming a matter of law: for example, GDPR requires businesses to “communicate high-risk breaches to affected data subjects without undue delay.” Both cases require rapid access to accurate, up-to-date contact data.
3. Communications with customers
This article from Forbes Magazine points out that an effective data privacy framework starts with a dialogue with your customers. Building trust – and preventing regulatory complaints – requires having accurate channels for communicating your policies and responding to customer feedback.
Mitigating your compliance risks
Having accurate contact data plays an essential role in compliance. Data privacy regulations have proliferated around the globe, and hundreds of regulations exist today. However, achieving compliance is just the start; to be competitive nowadays, accurate data quality and transparent communications channels need to become part of your brand to customers and prospects.
Our data quality solutions help you meet these challenges. We ensure your business has the most genuine, accurate and up-to-date data for your customers, giving you the ability to communicate with your contacts when it matters most. When compliance questions come up or audits happen, be sure your organization is prepared.