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As a business owner, you likely know it’s important to protect your company’s data. But what about protecting your users’ data? In this article, we’ll explore the importance of privacy protection and some best practices for safeguarding user data.
Data privacy is the right of an individual (or group of individuals) to control who has access to their information and how they can use that information. It’s crucial because your users are trusting you with their most sensitive personal information, like their payment information or location data. As a company, you have a responsibility to use this information responsibly—and if you don’t, there could be serious consequences for both your company and your users.
Tracking your online activities
We spend a lot of time on the internet, so our personal information is valuable. But how do you know if your data is being tracked?
Data tracking can be done in many ways, and it’s important to understand what they are, so you can take steps to protect yourself. The first step is understanding how your browser works. Your browser will automatically send information about you—such as your IP address and location—to websites that request it. This is mostly done by companies using Google Analytics. The website can then use this information for targeted ads or even share it with third parties for marketing purposes. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer/device and the VPN server, which hides any personal data from hackers or anyone who may try to access it without permission (e.g., government agencies).
The Facebook data breach is a lesson in how harm is caused by a lack of transparency and trust
The most recent Facebook scandal is a lesson in how harm is caused by a lack of transparency and trust. In 2016 Facebook faced significant backlash when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had obtained millions of Facebook users’ private profile data without their consent–and used it for political purposes during the US presidential election campaign. The incident led many people across the globe to wonder just how safe our private data really is on these platforms; many felt betrayed by Facebook’s failure to protect them from such practices.
Questions to ask about who has access to your user data
- Who is collecting the data?
- Who is storing the data?
- Who is using the data (not just seeing it, but actually using it)?
How is data being collected?
Data can be collected from many sources, including:
- Your website or app.
- Third-party services that you use, such as email marketing services, web analytics providers, and more.
- Social media accounts you own (for example, Facebook profile) and the social media platforms themselves.
Data can come from other users of your product or service too! For example: if an employee uses a corporate email address to sign up for a personal account on your website – they will have access to all their emails within that account. This means that employees may inadvertently disclose corporate information (such as company secrets) through their personal accounts on your platform – even if they never intended to share this information publicly!
How is it stored?
Your data should be stored in a secure location, encrypted, and updated regularly. This is the first step to protecting your customer’s privacy. It’s also important that you retain only as much information as needed by your company—data should not be kept longer than necessary.
If you store personal information with me, I will protect it using appropriate technical and organizational security measures against unauthorized or unlawful processing, access, or disclosure of personal data as well as against accidental loss or destruction of such personal data.
What are you doing with that data?
If you own a business that collects user data, you need to be very clear with users about what you’re doing with that information. It’s important to have policies in place that clearly give users an overview of how their data is being used and explain why it’s important for them to share their information. For example, suppose you collect demographic data such as age, gender, and location. In that case, it helps if you can show users how this information makes their experience better in some way (e.g., personalized content or recommendations). The same goes for personalizing the experience based on browsing history — providing value is key here!
It’s also important to let users know upfront if you will be using it for third-party purposes like advertising campaigns or marketing tools like email newsletters. Asking permission from customers before using their information will help build trust and make them feel more comfortable sharing personal details with your company in the future.
When can it be destroyed?
You may be wondering when it’s safe to destroy your data. Here are a few cases where destroying information is a good idea:
- When it’s no longer needed: Once you’ve used the information for its intended purpose, there’s no reason to keep it around. For example, you might need a customer list for an advertising campaign but once the campaign is over, there’s no point in keeping those names and addresses on file.
- When it’s no longer accurate: If your records are full of errors or outdated information, then don’t bother keeping them around! It’s much better to get rid of that obsolete data than risk accidentally sending out incorrect information to customers or clients—and causing major problems as a result.
- When they’re not relevant anymore: If something has changed since you collected that piece of data and now what you’ve got doesn’t work anymore (for instance, if someone has moved away), then there’s no point holding onto that old info either because nothing else will make sense (like trying put together an outfit with mismatched clothes).
"Protecting user privacy should always be a priority for any company, no matter the size or type. If you don't, you might have to answer to regulatory bodies and your own users."
As you can see, there are many issues to keep in mind when it comes to data privacy. Your company will have different needs than other businesses. Still, the principles outlined above should help you make better decisions about how you handle user data. In one way or another, every business owner is responsible for their users’ information, which means educating yourself on what best practices look like. I’m well aware of the best practices in data privacy, and you can rest assured that with 2 Dogs and a Laptop, you won’t ever need to worry about it because I partner with companies like Termageddon as a data privacy certified agency partner because take care of all of my data privacy needs with things like privacy policies, cookie policies, terms and conditions, disclaimers, and end user license agreements.
-Written by Gabriela at Sea Horizon for Sarah, owner of 2 Dogs and a Laptop.
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