Take care of your customers' personal info

Take care of your customers' personal info
Barrie Sosinsky

When you are doing business over the net, you have to store customer information. It doesn't make any difference if your customers are consumers or other businesses; you have to maintain their information with the strictest secrecy. Anyone charged with the security of customer information should understand that their company's reputation could be seriously damaged if they do not do their job flawlessly. Customers who cannot trust you will not want to do business with you.

Here are some tips to prevent your company from getting into a serious bind for lax security procedures with customer data:

Verify every claim your company makes about its privacy statements. Where you see discrepancies, point them out. Most of the time, they're oversights and can be fixed. For instance, look at how Lucy.com and Fusion.com dealt with security problems: they updated their sites and issued a statement to inform their clients of the discovery and repair. So although the problem should not have happened in the first place, those companies did the right thing when the problems did occur.

Companies that don't fix their problems risk earning the reputation of not taking their customers' privacy seriously. This results in people abandoning their sites, going to competitors.

Unless specified otherwise, those who gather information basically own the information. However, while this may keep most companies out of court, the distribution of personal information over the internet is a hot topic that is certainly going to rouse hearty debate from several parties; generally, the opinions on this topic side with users having rights to privacy, and if a company compromised their privacy then that company's reputation is going to be damaged.


About the author

Barrie Sosinsky (barries@killerapps.com) is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.


Related book

Delivering Security and Privacy for E-Business
Author : Anup Ghosh
Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
ISBN/CODE : 0471384216
Cover Type : Soft Cover
Pages : 256
Published : Feb. 2001
Summary:
With billions of dollars at stake in e-commerce, companies are becoming much more concerned about security and privacy issues. Hackers have made headlines by breaking into Web sites that aggregate sensitive information about all of us, which has caused growing public concern about personal and financial privacy. Some online businesses are inadvertently "sharing" data with others when they interoperate systems. This book examines the external threats to a company's system and explains how to react if your system and business goals diverge. It also presents a nuts-and-bolts guide to enhancing security and safeguarding gateways. Readers will find an extensive reference section for the many tools, standards and watchdog agencies that aid in the security/privacy effort.


This was first published in December 2000
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