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How to Keep Your Association’s Member Data Safe and Secure

Keeping your member’s data safe and secure will allow you to build better trust with your membership. Use these tips and make sure your association does its part to secure any and all member data.

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Getting ahold of member data can help your association analyze and grow its membership. But without a solid data security plan in place, your members might be reluctant to share any information with you at all. Data security breaches are unfortunately not an uncommon phenomena these days.

With many top notch companies experiencing data security issues, and the amount of member data being held within those companies, there are many reasons for your association’s members to be wary when giving away their information. That’s why it’s up to you to do everything you can to keep your member database safe and secure. And with GDPR laws shifting, data security has become an importance now more than ever. In fact, a 2018 survey by Eventsforce reporting on GDPR readiness found that 81% of event professionals see data security to be a MUCH bigger priority for their events as a result of GDPR. This could even include your association’s events as well.

Don’t let your association miss out on valuable member data by having low-end data security. If you’re struggling to find a way to secure member data, take a look at these a few ways you could increase data security and ensure members their information is safe with you.

Event: An Overlooked Data Source

Planning and organizing your association’s events can be a harrowing process, and if you forget to take data security into consideration when creating an amazing event, it could lead to trouble later down the road. Your association’s events have the potential to be extremely data-rich, making it a goldmine for your association to grow and understand its audience - but also a highly valuable target for data hackers.

And while you may think the chances of anyone hacking your association’s event database are slim, you never want to be left in a crisis situation when the moment strikes. So, when it comes to event data security, it’s always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. But how is this done?

What sort of steps can your association and its event team take to ensure the best in data security for event attendees? There are actually many procedures event planners can follow to plan for a crisis situation. To start, you want to make sure any software and/or operating system you use to collect event attendee data is kept up-to-date and password protected. Out of date software can leave more room for operational error and/or data loss, and a weak password can be easily hacked. Stray away from using common passwords, and always make sure to include capital letters and numbers to strengthen your password as much as possible.

You also want to be sure to keep all of your data on a private network. Connecting to public wi-fi and non-secure networks can spell disaster for all of your personal member data. But if you keep your data on a private network, you can be sure no one from a public web source can access it.

Keep Technology Providers Up To Speed

When dealing with data security, it’s best to have everyone on the same page - including your technology providers and support team. If your association has a specific member data security plan in place, everyone should be kept up to speed with it. You want to be sure the way that tech providers store and collect your member’s data is compliant with any and all data protection and storage laws.

For example, with the change in GDPR laws, your association should always make sure its member data storage and use is legally sound. Working with your tech providers can make sure you use member data the right way. Similarly, any other laws incorporating the safe and secure use of member data should always be enforced and followed by tech providers and tech support. You should also keep a close eye on how your tech providers/database software works to store data.

What systems are set in place to secure this data? Does your data source have backup storage in case of data loss? What about data management/analytics- is that something that is provided with your service? Knowing the in’s and out’s of your data technology can help mitigate many problems before they arise, keeping your member data safe and your members happy.

Keep Data on Lockdown

While your association’s team of staff and volunteers are an invaluable part of everything you do, it doesn’t mean they should all have access to member data. It might seem rude or unnecessary to keep member data locked away, it’s for the best when it comes to security. You never know what data spreadsheets could get accidentally exported, what email could be sent out by accident, or what other human error might occur to your member data.

This is why it’s important to screen those who have access to member data. Create an exclusive team and handpick those who you deem acceptable to keep control of this data. You want a tight knit team that knows how to work together and actively manage member data, making sure it does not get leaked to those not capable of handling it. You should also have a system set in place for any staff with member data access that resign or are terminated and leave the company.

Be sure to lock down member data from that person, change up any passwords as necessary, and shut down any accounts they may have on member data softwares and technology. Carefully selecting the staff in charge having an emergency procedure in place when those staff leave your association will give you a better sense of who has access to data.

Never Underestimate AI

And finally, while not a huge concern for many associations, there is the benefit of implementing artificial intelligence and advanced learning technologies to keep data safe. According to The Security Industry Association’s Data Privacy and Security Trends for 2018 report, machine learning in cybersecurity costs are set to reach a whopping $96 billion by the year 2021. That’s right, artificial intelligence for cybersecurity is so well trusted, it’s funded billions of dollars to get technology where it needs to be in terms of demand. Your association can invest in automated threat-seekers- an AI technology that seeks out potential data threats on any device or program needed. You can also look into other cybersecurity software to meet your association’s data needs. However, you should never solely rely on AI to keep your data safe.

Automated technology should always be mixed with human intellect for the best combination of data security. After all, you need a balance of human and machine to cover all of your bases. Keeping your member’s data safe and secure will allow you to build a better trust with your membership, building up your member database and giving you what you need to grow member rates in the future. Implement these tips and make sure your association does its part to secure any and all member data