If you hold information about others, that includes companies and members of the public, you must be licensed under the Data Protection Act 1998 and you are regarded as a data controller.
A data controller is required to comply with the eight principles of good information handling.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your data?
1. Separate the data for easier management - one database for each of the following as a suggestion:
- Current customers
- Ex customers
2. Keep a master database with ID codes (eg CC for current customers) so you can find the details of the record when you need it
3. Restrict access - make sure that only certain people have access to the databases
4. Keep data up to date. Details can change quickly. You can take an automated data cleanse, an audit should be free with Experian or UK changes and then you will be given prices to complete the cleanse. In the case of B2B databases, telemarketing is often the most effective way to achieve updates, as the automated process will not be able to tell you the names of the people in specific jobs with their job titles and contact details. Leadline can undertake this for you, prices start from £1.95 per record with a 3 times attempt to each record.
5. Segment the databases, this is a simple process and should be built into your disaster recovery plan.
6 Make sure you build an decent CRM so that any data can be traced quickly along with any notes. There are some very good CRMs on the market, including open source CRMs.
Contact Leadline for any help with managing your data.