Through the looking glass – what’s your privacy worth?

Through the looking glass – what’s your privacy worth?

by 212 Posted on Jun 17, 2016

…He was a marketing director from one of the world’s leading computer software companies talking on the topic of customer behavioural analytics; bragging about the amount of data he had at his fingertips about his customers.

At this point I dared to raise my hand and ask the question – “Are you worried that there will be a backlash from your users if they find out how much information you have about them?”. He replied, in a serious tone, that nothing was more important to him than customer privacy.

At the time I thought this was a rather hypocritical statement, to begin by bragging about how he could target based on individuals’ specific demographics, interests and more… to then say that data privacy was the most important thing to him?

I could have called him a liar but I decided to let the matter rest. And now, with many years worth of experience behind me, I can start to understand what he really meant. Digital behavioural analytics is so tight on data privacy, you couldn’t squeeze an amoeba through there. But it takes some explaining to understand how personal data is kept so secure and how companies can use it.

The data sensitive age

Computer mouse hovering over security settings icon for a digital behavioural analytics provider.

In this data sensitive age, the data privacy laws are our bible. We live and breathe them; to step out of line would jeopardise everything we have and that’s why we take it so seriously.

Like many tech companies, your personal data is something you trust us with by accepting cookie policies. In return, you deserve our utmost respect to follow the rules and keep you safe online.

So as a reputable business within the finance, telecoms, travel, retail and insurance sectors, what should you expect of your digital behavioural analytics provider?

Your data privacy checklist

There’s lots of extremely sensitive data about ourselves that should never be available to organisations without permission. Here’s a checklist of things you should ask any company about how they manage their data privacy:

1. Sensitivity You should always ask whether they hold any sensitive information about individuals and how they manage this, including:

  • ethnic background
  • political opinions
  • religious beliefs
  • health
  • sexual health
  • criminal records

(The Data Protection Act 1998 from Gov.uk. More information about data protection can be found by clicking here).

2. Accessibility You should always ask who in their company has access to people’s personal details. Make sure to ask whether they can restrict access to certain levels of employees within your own business too. Systems that enable you to do this are much more secure. This is because no matter how well trained staff members are, humans are always the weakest link when it comes to data privacy. Even with the most stringent digital compliance measures, personal data can be jeopardised unintentionally through human error. Restricting access therefore minimises the risks considerably.

3. Storage You should ask them where they keep there data. There are amendments to the Data Protection Act 1998 that require European businesses to store data with the European Economic Area (EEA). Make sure they’re following the rules. The laws state:

“Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the EEA unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data”.

(Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Full article available here.)

4. Storage part 2 You should ask them whether they store data on the cloud or on site. Cloud storage, as wonderful as it is, is often more susceptible to hacks, which could put sensitive personal data at risk. Some companies offer solutions to store personal data on premises (i.e. within your own data centre infrastructure). This means you have absolute control of your customers’ data.

5. Completeness Check to see how much data your digital behavioural analytics provider actually records. Some providers don’t record some sensitive information, which can cause problems later down the line. Having access to complete information to the relevant departments, means you can help customers in the worst case scenarios such as fraud or for more general problem solving. This is the most secure way to help your customers in these types of situations.

As digital behavioural analytics providers ourselves, we take great pride in our approach to your customers’ privacy. If you’d like to find out more about our approach to data privacy, why not contact us or request a demo today.

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