In order to get off the ground and become a success in the digital business world, you have to be at least somewhat aware of the privacy and data ethics issues that face the internet. By no means are these issues just for small businesses. All major corporations and many of the smaller businesses are faced with this constant pressure to collect as much information about their customers as possible. If it is not collected properly, they may be violating some federal laws that have been enacted to protect the consumer.
The law surrounding the collection of personal information has been updated several times over the years. The original versions were restrictive to a point, but the latest version continues to be stricter. Before the current versions of these laws, the company was not legally bound to turn over customer data if there was a suspicion that the company was breaking the law. However, after the recent updates in the law is much more strict and the company is required by law to turn over any evidence they have collected that could possibly break any laws.
The first step a digital business needs to take when it comes to protecting personal information is to build a strong firewall. Any firewall is simply a program that analyzes all the computer activity going on in a given time frame and blocks any suspicious activities. There are many programs available for free or for a very minimal fee that can assist a company in building a firewall. It is a necessity for an effective privacy and data integrity policy.
A second step a business should take is to develop an effective collection policy. Collection policies are simply guidelines that lay out how the business will capture, store, and use personal information that it collects from its customers. Federal law continues to evolve and companies need to update their policies accordingly. Staying up to date on this important matter will ensure that the company complies with all federal laws and protects its customers.
The third step, a company should take is to train its employees. The information about privacy and data integrity that is required by the federal government is extremely important. Many employees may not be aware of the new regulations regarding privacy and data use. Training for these employees is imperative. Employees that do not know how to properly collect and protect customer data can open the door to identity theft.
The fourth step to take is to regularly test the security of the company’s servers. Security requirements are updated constantly by federal agencies. Companies should regularly test their server to make sure that it is not only protected by firewalls, but also that the servers contain no viruses or malware. Identity thieves often attack company servers to gain access to the personal information that they need to steal. A virus-infected server is useless.
The fifth step to take is to regularly inform the federal government of the changes in its policies. Federal agencies, like the FDA, have been known to take months before updating their regulations. This can be extremely frustrating for a company that needs to comply with new regulations now. Furthermore, a company that is not notified of changes in state law may find itself at risk of having an outdated policy implemented in a state that requires them to be in compliance with federal law. If a company ignores the notification requirement, it could face fines or even legal action from the state.