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Last year, the cost of the average data breach rose from $3.9 million to $4.2 million, the highest it has ever been. Ninety percent of customers say that the way a company treats their data reflects how much that company values them as a customer. And 83% of consumers say they will stop doing business with a company that loses their data.

Privacy has never been more important to the success of your business. Get it wrong, and you risk losing your reputation, your customers and — depending on the legal penalties where you operate — a sizable chunk of revenue. That’s why we at Zoho think privacy needs to be at the heart of every piece of enterprise business software your company uses, but particularly your CRM.

At this point, you may be thinking that data privacy and security are at the heart of all CRM platforms, surely? Well, surprisingly, no. In important ways, many CRMs make compromises on privacy. They’re just coy about the fact.

Software providers often expand through acquisition. Connecting each new product to their existing suite of apps involves creating linkages between the different applications. The more of these there are, the greater the chance that the bolted-together family of apps may leak data or present opportunities to cybercriminals.

Many CRM providers also use third-party data centers. Again, this creates a potential point of failure. Rather than data remaining within the CRM provider’s own ecosystem, it travels across the open Internet. If there’s a misconfiguration, either in the CRM or the data center, data may be lost and one or both systems may be vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Nor are data security and privacy of your customers the only things at stake. Your CRM provider should also respect you and your employees’ data and privacy. Some CRM providers use third-party cookies and other means to track users and then sell this data to programmatic advertising companies, so that these companies can target those users with online advertising.

At Zoho, we don’t do any of those things. We believe privacy should be your number one concern when choosing a CRM — after all, look at the consequences of getting it wrong — so we make it our number one priority. Privacy and security are at the heart of how Zoho CRM is designed and how we operate it.

From the moment you land on our website and begin the process of engagement with us, your data and your privacy are sacrosanct to us. At Zoho, privacy is built in, not bolted on as an afterthought. Our privacy team reports directly to the CEO. Every other team has a privacy champion that works with the privacy team.

“If you went into a store, you’d expect the staff there to help you find the right product for you and then sell it to you at a fair price,” said Vibhav Vankayala, Product Marketing Manager at Zoho CRM, “You don’t expect the store owner to then go and sell a lot of your data to someone else or invite advertisers to come and pester you or your customers. At Zoho, we believe that this simplicity and honesty is the basis for trust, and trust is the basis for a good business relationship. That’s why we never sell your or your customers’ data and our products are designed with privacy in mind from the word go.”