Protecting Your Client’s Data
Your clients have a reasonable expectation of privacy on your site and, depending on your audience, their expectations of internet safety can be very different. Beyond your personal obligation for protecting your client’s data, there are legal and personal obligations as an e-commerce site.
Where does your site sit? Are you meeting the minimum requirements? Do your customers expect more from you than that?
Key Considerations for Protecting Your Client’s Data
Let’s take a peek at cybersecurity.
Personal Obligation to Your User’s Expectations
Meeting your customer’s expectation of privacy is a great way to avoid future data issues that may upset them.
You should do a few quick checks to see if your site is https (next to the URL) and if you are actually delivering secure content by plugging your site into this free tool. Delivering secure content to your customers and knowing that the information they send to you is also secure is a great baseline for protecting your client’s data.
Many customers don’t expect to be “hacked” while on your site, so you should look into employing ethical hackers who can point out security risks that you may not be aware of. Most customers expect that their information will be kept private.
The closer to the 18-25 age bracket your audience is, the lower their expectation of privacy is since they take steps to protect their personal privacy. This may mean that you can sell customer information if your audience is young but may need to be more explicit that you are doing so with anyone 40 years or older. A great example of this is the difference in reactions between young and old people when Zuckerberg had Senate hearings. Older people and the senators were generally confused about Facebook and what it collected about them, but many young people where very flustered at the low-level questions that senators threw at the Zuck’.
Keeping your clients’ information private should be important to you. Cookies that grab information onsite and social media sites are expected to hold user information and pass it along to make targeted ads. But no one expects the information they put in during the payment process to be shared, even if accidentally.
Digital security is a huge issue. Ignoring crime is not something that you can do just because it’s criminals doing criminal activities; it’s something that needs to be actively protected against. As lovely as it’d be if there was a global internet police, it’s not a reality we live in. If you’re online, your customer’s money needs to be safe during the payment process. This includes onsite portals that may contain just invoice information.
“Hacking” Your Own Clients?
Are you accidentally “hacking” your own clients by failing to be transparent with data collection? Is your tracking of consumer data something that your customers know about?
While many internet users expect to be tracked when they accept “cookies,” they may not want you to share their email or for their home address to be given out for a mailing list. Are you making it clear that you are taking their information when they come onto your site and what you may do with that information?
If you are collecting your customer information, make sure to be transparent about what you are collecting and what you are doing with that data once you do collect it. Your users may not know. And that can lead to a lack of trust.
It’s vital to provide your users with a safe and secure website, where they can know what they are sharing with you, how to prevent data collection, and where they can feel comfortable giving you their sensitive information. Keep your consumers’ trust by protecting your client’s data..
This article on protecting your client’s data was contributed by Brooke Faulkner. Brooke is a proud momma and lifelong small business supporter. She is always on the lookout for ways that small businesses can further integrate into the daily lives of everyone in their communities, because human connection is perhaps the best tool we have for change. To read more of her work, follow @faulknercreek on Twitter.