What Facebook Can Teach Us About Small Business Privacy
May 18, 2018
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Facebook’s privacy scandal is far from over. Although the social media giant has strengthened its privacy settings, new headlines are already emerging about other, even earlier Facebook data breaches dating back to 2009, enabled by malicious quizzes and apps.
Every Facebook user can worry about their privacy, but unfortunately, small business owners have even more to fear. Like everybody who uses the platform, you may be anxious about where your data ended up after you filled out a trivia quiz while waiting for the bus nine years ago.
Unfortunately, small business owners’ worries won’t stop there.
What will your clients think? If you use Facebook for advertising (like many other businesses), you may worry that your clients could associate you with the platform. This is even more of an issue if your business handles sensitive data. What if your business develops (or uses) apps?
As you can see, Facebook’s data scandal has a ripple effect on many small businesses. Even if you’re “only” worried about losing a valuable marketing tool if users keep abandoning the platform, your business will be affected.
Even if you’re “only” worried about losing a valuable marketing tool if users keep abandoning the platform, your business will be affected.
On the other hand, the privacy scandal teaches business owners a few important lessons. These can help protect your data and strengthen your clients’ trust in your business.
Clear Data Protection Policy
Be upfront about handling your clients’ sensitive data. Let them know how you store it, who will have access, what you need it for and how long are you planning to keep it. And ultimately: what measures you’ll take to keep it safe.
This is especially important if you work in the realm of IT and apps. As the sector most affected by the Facebook scandal, it’s vital for the success of your business to win your clients’ trust. Nobody wants to lose sensitive data to know what Disney princess they are, or even the most useful app in the world.
Show your clients that you take their data security concerns seriously and do your utmost to protect their privacy.
Before all that, you’ll first need to establish rigorous security standards for your business. Educate your employees about data protection and make sure they’re following your rules. They’re your first line of defence against privacy breaches.
If you need to let third parties handle your or your clients’ data, investigate their data protection methods and guidelines. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even (especially!) uncomfortable ones. Ask them the same questions your clients ask you.
You’re responsible for it, so learn everything before you commit to sharing your clients’ data. Just like Facebook is responsible for allowing third parties to access and use information Facebookers trusted the company to keep safe.
Facebook is looking at blockchain technology to help prevent future privacy breaches. Your business can follow suit: use all the advantage of modern technology. For tips, read our article on groundbreaking blockchain uses for small businesses.
In addition, install anti-malware software, and protect your network with strong passwords as well as a firewall.
Make sure you use the safest business processes. This is especially important when it comes to handling money.
The biggest lesson for small businesses to take from Facebook’s flub is transparency. If your processes are open to the public, you have nothing to hide. When it comes to global payments, businesses need to know what they’re getting into.
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