Understanding ethics and privacy may seem simple at first, but when you start to dive in, you discover that finding the balance between being supportive and intrusive is difficult. Data helps you understand your audience and customers better, but how far is too far when it comes to monitoring their physical and digital footprint?
Deciding what is and isn’t ethical doesn’t have to be determined on your own. Here are five things you should understand about ethics and privacy:
Digital ethics makes up your online moral code.
Digital ethics includes the principles of conduct practiced online or in a virtual environment. How you handle your customers’ confidential data and what security you put in place to protect it contributes to your digital ethics. Do you record digital footprints? Do you sell that information to advertisers so that they know which of your users like certain products? All of these things and more contribute to your digital moral compass. So, what path is your business on?
The GDPR affects your business – even if you’re based in the US.
The EU created the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure websites are doing everything they can to protect the information they gain from users. This act requires companies that have EU users – essentially any company around the globe – to update their policies and promote more rigorous privacy strategies. Security concerns include, but aren’t limited to:
- Asking users for permission to collect and retain key pieces of their data
- Asking users for permission to sell the data you’ve collected
- Giving users the right to request their data to be deleted
- Giving users the option to download the data you’ve collected
Digital ethics involves three practices – monitoring, transparency and the fine line.
Distinguished VP and Gartner Fellow, Frank Buytendijk, suggests that digital ethics has three key guidelines – monitoring, transparency and what he calls the win/win. When it comes to practicing digital ethics, these can be considered the golden rules.
Not only should you monitor how prospects and customers are visiting your site, but you also need to monitor your own systems for vulnerabilities. A large part of meeting compliance involves transparency. You need to ensure that the data you’re tracking doesn’t violate the privacy of the customer. Finding that middle ground or fine line is what Buytendijk’s refers to as the win/win. There’s a fine line between being helpful with personalization and algorithms and being creepy. Always make sure your processes are on the cautious side of that line.
Security should be your number one priority.
Even if your customers and visitors give you permission to collect their data, you still have a responsibility to keep their confidential information safe. With cyberthreats escalating, you need absolute diligence when it comes to protecting the data you collect. From natural disasters – like fire, hurricanes and power outages – to malicious intent from ransomware and cyber criminals, you need a security solution that protects your business and customers’ data from all angles. But, how do you ensure that your solutions are enough to keep customers’ information safe?
How can a managed services partner help?
Understanding and implementing best practices for ethics and privacy can feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do it alone. As a managed services provider, we’ll evaluate your security processes and make suggestions to eliminate risks and keep your collected data safe.
For more information on how we can help keep your business and customers’ data safe while helping you balance the fine line of digital ethics, contact us today.