Putting a Lock on the Cloud: Privacy as a Service May Be the Answer

by Nicolas Costa
Blog Post

Identity Theft. Privacy. Data Security.

These phrases have been chosen to represent a broad range of security concerns that have the average consumer more on edge than ever before.

In fact, regardless of your primary business model, ensuring your customer’s private data is safe has to be a service you provide going forward.

In the world of hacks, bugs, digital theft, and abuse more people want to know that every company they entrust with their identity (in any way) is working hard to keep that identity secure.

Bottom Line: You are collecting sensitive data regardless of your business type (we will show you how in a second). By collecting data, your customers are trusting you to keep it safe and use it ethically.

But can you keep your consumer’s privacy intact as well as their trust? Yes, and no.

While you can’t (at least at this point and maybe never) make data 100% secure, you can do everything in your power to protect and let your customers know that you are providing protection to their privacy as a service.

This post will explore several questions the average consumer may have. The answer to these questions may very well lie in offering privacy as a service to your clients.

First, a word about the culprit of the problem.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Data

Data is driving some of the most profound and intuitive advancements of our generation. There are so many insights that can be used to create the software and products that genuinely improve the lives of many.

However, there is a very dark side to collecting this data (actually a few dark sides). The information that is available to you is vast. When consumers use your products or services, you gain incredible insights, but the types of data collected wildly varies as far as how “sensitive” it is.

The term “Big Data” addresses the staggering amounts of raw data that needs to be stored. Storing the data in-house on private servers is costly and there are more efficient solutions. Unfortunately using Big Data and cloud solutions aren’t always the most secure (without extra precautions).

While the potential benefits of collecting data far outweigh the risks, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that problems exist.

What Do You Collect?

Yes, people are worried about hackers. Although, they may be worried about you more. With the general public getting a more detailed view of the types of data collected and what it’s being used for (without their knowledge in many cases), people are becoming skeptical. Consider a few of these examples of data use that few people knew were happening just a couple of years ago.

  • Insurance companies are tracking behavior to gain insights. A device in a car can track speed and driving distance to have an accurate billing rate.
  • Phone companies track everything a phone can collect. Everything. (Not to mention phone manufacturers).
  • Healthcare devices are tracking patient behavior (in and out of medical facilities).
  • Apps not only know your whereabouts of habits in the app but store all of that data that can be traced and utilized.

These are good things if trust isn’t violated. So many entities are collecting data without being very upfront.

Part of offering Privacy as a Service to your customers is to be crystal clear about how you collect data and why. No matter how “anonymous” or insignificant you may think the data is, a detailed privacy policy should line it out in clear terms.

Being upfront and honest about your data collection is a great way to offer your clients peace of mind.

How Do You Keep It Safe?

Once you convince your clients they can trust you with their data you can move onto their next concern. A very hostile internet.

Hacks have become a part of the world we live in. There is no “hack-proof” system. The toughest firewalls in the world have been broken, and the most secure organizations on the planet have been compromised.

That doesn’t mean you will be hacked, but it certainly means you can be. However, you can’t just turn over and wait for these things to happen. There happen to be multiple steps you can take to make all the data as safe as it can be. Things like:

  • Making sure you have an active privacy policy
  • Maintaining and updating security software regularly
  • Have procedures in place in the event of malware or hacks
  • Ensure the entire staff understands policies as well as maintains their own safety measures (password maintenance, personal device security)

Third-party companies have also begun to emerge given the incredible need that has been created. While many privacy companies can be considered controversial, they seem to offer a completely secure internet to keep data private. By using a secure VPN system created by companies like Dispel, corporations can ensure their most valuable data is more secure than other methods.

Important Note: VPN usage has recently been under scrutiny. Companies like PayPal and Netflix have tried to crack down to prevent some instances of cybercrime.

Making every effort to maintain the integrity of your data and conveying all measures that are being taken is crucial toward providing an adequate level of service in regards to privacy.

Who Do You Share It with?

Once you’re upfront about how you use customer data, and make it as secure as you possibly can there’s one more thing.

Chances are that you aren’t the only one who utilizes the data that is collected. Partnerships can help you in a variety of ways and some are unavoidable.

Example: If you’re using a hosting platform, user data will inevitably be shared.

The key to extending your privacy service to your partnerships is to understand the methods those partners use to protect the security of all data received. Essentially, you have to do your homework on security measures of every possible company you work with. In a world of extreme connectivity, there are few companies that operate entirely independent of other businesses.

Even if you build software or apps, you may find yourself working with a development team outside of your own ranks. If that’s the case, it’s imperative that you know they take internet security seriously (like we do).

Once you know that your partners are committed to security, it’s time to share the news with your customers. If you’ve noticed a theme when it comes to offering a privacy service, it’s this: Proactive protection with transparent communication.

For better or worse, it’s all you can do.

Choose who you work with carefully. Trusting any data to another individual or organization needs to be scrutinized and communicated to your prospects.

Koombea takes privacy as seriously as we do developing world class apps. Our process ensures maximum protection as well as a speedy project time. Get in touch with us today to start the conversation that could lead to a wonderful partnership.

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by Nicolas Costa
Blog Post