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How to Secure the Data in Your Martech Stack — And Why It Matters

Customer Data Platform

Data is the fuel that makes modern marketing more personalized, better targeted, and ultimately more effective. Consumers, however, are increasingly more aware of — and concerned about — how corporations use their personal data.

For reasons both legal and ethical, data security is a crucial concern for all businesses. As marketers are some of the biggest collectors and consolidators of consumer data, it’s their responsibility to promote data security and privacy.

Here’s how marketers can best use marketing technology to meet that responsibility.

Why Data Security Matters & How to Secure Your Stack

Research has found that up to 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. Marketers can’t afford to become part of that statistic, especially given that we work with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as names, birthdates, even social security numbers. That type of data can drive more personalized experiences but requires far more sophisticated safeguards than anonymized data.

The challenges of security and privacy have only increased in the post-pandemic landscape: Remote workers can introduce vulnerabilities, and hackers are stepping up their efforts to take advantage.

It’s a Question of Trust – and Liability

Data security concerns are an emerging martech trend for several reasons. First,

Data breaches can be costly, both in time and money. But restoring lost data might be easier than restoring lost credibility.

Consumers are increasingly wary of the way their data is collected and used. Companies that abuse that trust can lose business, whereas those who are transparent about their data usage, and can offer credible privacy assurances, are more likely to inspire loyalty.

The second consideration is legal liability. Global organizations are already adapting to a post-GDPR-and-CCPA world, in which data slip-ups can incur massive fines. Forward-looking marketing departments should already be bringing their data usage in line with existing legislation, with an eye toward more legislation in the future.

Staying Data-Driven while Protecting Customers

So how can marketers keep using data for personalization while staying compliant with new laws and earning consumer trust? The first part of the solution is to change your team’s habits and processes. Scrutinize the data you’re already collecting and look for ways you can identify, locate and remove data that’s sensitive for consumers but not crucial to your marketing efforts. Check in with your third-party service providers as well to see what they’re doing with the data you collected. Essentially, take ownership of the data and collect only what’s necessary.

Then, look at the amount of data you already have collected. Most modern marketers have a data hoarding problem. We were enamored of how easy it was to collect data, amassed mountains of it, and now it’s sitting unused. Old data, especially PII, on your servers or in the cloud, is nothing but an ongoing liability. It’s worth doing an audit and removing anything you’re not currently using.

Data Security & Privacy Management with Martech

Martech can either help or hinder your efforts to preserve consumer privacy and keep data secure. Here’s how to realign your stack with security and privacy in mind:

  • Map your existing stack. It’s easier to take on new tools than it is to get rid of them. So, it’s likely you have a few in your stack that can go. Evaluate whether each tool is still needed, whether it stores data, and what each vendor’s data policy looks like.
  • Make sure new vendors put security first. Look for GDPR and CCDPA compliance at a minimum, but it’s worth prioritizing vendors who go above and beyond the existing legislation. Look for the same level of transparency and trustworthiness that your customers will demand of you.
  • Consolidate data on a CDP. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is designed to safely and reliably store all classes of customer data, including PII. A CDP can serve as a foundational element of the rest of your stack, handling privacy and security concerns so you’re free to focus on using your data most effectively.

Take the Lead in Data Management

The future of marketing is data-driven. However,

The ability to collect and leverage data comes with a responsibility both to consumers and to your company.

The way the marketing department handles sensitive data can affect the entire brand reputation, either boosting consumer confidence or causing them to flee to a competitor.

It’s crucial to make sure your existing stored data, and your current martech stack, are both free of potential liabilities. And it’s worth partnering with vendors that prioritize security for your data management requirements.

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Tom Treanor, CMO, Treasure Data
Tom Treanor is the Chief Marketing Officer for Treasure Data. He has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, as well as a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
He previously taught a course on Social Media Tools at San Francisco State University’s Social Media Marketing certificate program and has deep experience coaching and consulting corporate executives, small business owners and startup teams.

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