On this blog we have talked a lot about capturing your audience’s contact information for the purpose of communicating and marketing to them.
However, you must not forget that with great power comes great responsibility.
As this week is Privacy Awareness Week it seems appropriate to mention the measures you should be taking to protect your user’s data. Failure to do so could result in all kinds of trouble for you and your audience.
If your website stores your users data internally, you should seriously consider installing an SSL certificate. This ingeniously simple piece of technology encrypts your user’s personal information by ensuring the link between the web server and the browser remains private. It sounds complicated but its very easy to set up. For more information on SSL please check using your browser search engine. Here are some examples to help you get started: GlobalSign; Symantec; RapidSSL. The first of these has a really simple Video explaining SSL.
Restricting Access Online and Offline
Access to your user’s information should only be available to a select number of trusted individuals. Your most important documents should be password protected and hosted on a trustworthy application for storing valuable information. Keeping your contact information on a 3rd party website such as Mail Chimp or Vision6 is an easy and safe way to manage this data.
Keep Your Computer Healthy
Trojans, worms and other viruses all have the ability to either mess with your database or allow an external, potentially malicious user to access them. It isn’t difficult or expensive to protect your computer from these threats. Simply jump online and install a reliable tried and tested anti-virus program (for example, Norton, McAfee, AVG). These will constantly monitor your computer in the background and keep you protected with very little effort.
Just make sure it is up to date and your computer is scanned regularly and you are good to go.
Why Should I Do All This?
User logins credentials for your website are also extremely valuable as many users tend to reuse the same login details for multiple websites. This would allow someone to gain control of your user’s Facebook or email accounts for example. There is no limit to what damage they could do from there.
Other information such as emails and phone numbers may appear less valuable but these can be sold to dodgy marketers and used to spam for monetary gain.
Your user’s information is worth more than you might think. If someone were to gain access to credit card information, they would have no trouble purchasing themselves a wide range of goods before escaping without a trace.
View our Case Studies – how have other small businesses approached privacy