As you start to build your business website, you probably have a checklist of features you want to include. From an intuitive search feature to easy ordering, you likely spend a great deal of time looking for ways to make your site as attractive and functional as possible.
Privacy is a hot-button issue these days. It seems like every day headlines reveal yet another data breach, or another organization or agency that is accessing user or customer data for analysis. While most people realize their actions online are most likely being tracked and used for marketing or other purposes, the vast majority of consumers are wary about any personal information being shared among businesses without their consent — and are trusting you, as a website operator, to protect their sensitive data.
“But I Just Sell Old Books!”
Many times, small-business owners who open a Web store think that they are exempt from privacy issues. After all, if you are launching a site to showcase your handmade accessories or sell antique books you collect from the flea market, your customers won’t be sharing any data like Social Security numbers.
However, your customers may feel differently. Most people consider their credit card or other financial information vital, especially when paired with their names and addresses. And anyone who’s been deluged with piles of junk mail or spam emails after sharing his contact information with a company will attest that no one wants his or her personal details shared at random.
For example, some websites include well-meaning but inaccurate language in their privacy policies that can get them into trouble should things go wrong. Promising not to share any information with any third party sounds like it would be the noble thing to do, but it’s an empty promise. When someone makes a purchase, his or her information must be shared with a number of third parties, including the Internet service provider (ISP), a database vendor, the shipping company and your credit card processor. That’s why asking a legal professional to review your policy is an important step, as he or she will craft a policy that allows for such legitimate sharing while still enacting adequate protections.
Once Is Never Enough