Ensuring your business has quality privacy practices is about much more than meeting regulatory requirements. These days, prioritising privacy is an important business strategy that boosts your bottom line and helps build and maintain customer trust. As a business owner, you are responsible for protecting your customers’ personal information. According to reports, 70% of people see the protection of their personal information as a major concern. Customers are more likely to trust a business that demonstrates good privacy practices and handles personal information with integrity and care. To ensure your privacy practices stack up, there are fundamentals your business can put in place to build a strong privacy foundation. Know your obligations Privacy rules and requirements constantly change and evolve, making it more difficult for businesses to navigate the increasingly complex regulatory landscape. New pressures on privacy, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), highlight the importance of understanding and keeping up to date with regulatory obligations. Understanding your business’ obligations allows you to anticipate how your customers, industry and broader community expect you to handle personal information and respond to needs and concerns. If you do not keep up with developments and shifts in regulations, you risk facing substantial fines and disrupting your business. Build in privacy by design The need to safeguard data has never been more significant, with businesses facing considerable pressure to comply with regulations when collecting, storing, processing, and discarding data. Poor privacy practices can lead to reputational damage, disrupt the user experience, and breach customer trust. Ultimately, it is more effective and efficient for a business to manage privacy risks proactively. By taking appropriate steps to build good privacy practices into your business’ products, services and internal systems and processes, you can eliminate, minimise, and manage privacy risks now and into the future. Train your staff Your employees are your first line of defence when it comes to privacy. Ensure your employees know how to protect themselves at work by integrating privacy into staff training and conducting refreshers to ensure your whole team is aware of their privacy and security obligations. Privacy training helps employees know how bad actors can get their hands on their data and provides them with clear steps to take in a breach, saving your business money and reputational damage in the long term. Privacy Awareness Week is an annual event to promote and raise awareness about protecting personal information. The event runs from Monday 2 May to Sunday 8 May and is led by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) in partnership with state and territory privacy regulators and Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities members.