By now you’ve probably heard about the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach, and while you might have some concerns about your personal information and whether or not it was exposed, have you stopped to consider the implications something like this might have on your small- or medium-sized business?
For starters, you can be certain that many people are going to re-evaluate how much data they share online and with whom. So, at a minimum, now is as good of a time as any to stop and take a hard look at your user agreements, privacy policies, cookie use, storage practices for personally identifying information, and exactly how you use and/or share this information internally and with third parties, respectively. Often businesses set these parameters up when they first launch their website and never revisit them to ensure they still line up with corporate values, best practices, and what is actually being done.
Another aspect to consider is your partnerships with other online platforms. Over the past few years, many businesses have installed applications on their website that allow users to create user accounts for your site using their already established login credentials for Google, Facebook, and in some instances even Amazon. While this definitely has the ability to streamline the purchase process for consumers, it also means you no longer have control over how data is stored or used through platforms like Facebook for small business. Though it may not make sense to completely abandon these third-party partnerships (at least not yet), we do encourage small businesses to provide an alternative way to register with your website by allowing users to create a profile specific to your business.
And last, but certainly not least, remember that Facebook (and other social media platforms) should be used as one part of your business communication strategy, not the only way for consumers to interact with your business online. Taking the time to build out a website that is specific to your business is the only real way to manage your online interactions and ensure that if disaster strikes you have full control over the recovery and communication process with your users. If you’re ready to learn more about privacy protection, disaster recovery, and creating an overall robust online presence, contact ATB. We’re here to help small businesses thrive in today’s increasingly complex online environment.