by Ross Dyer
A recent study by Deloitte found that nearly half of Brits don’t read the privacy policies of the websites they visit. No surprises there, you might think. Yet if that stat is true, online businesses are missing out by failing to go beyond a mere tick-box compliance approach to data protection. There are lessons to be learned here; those who take a more proactive stance are likely to find themselves reaping considerable business benefits.
Policy blah blah
The consultancy interviewed over 2,000 UK citizens to compile its Data Nation 2014 report. It found that 47% don’t read privacy policies or terms and conditions on websites, which effectively means they have no idea how their data is being used. Only 34% said they thought these policies were clear. Deloitte went further, analysing the 100 most popular sites amongst UK netizens, and found that said policies took an average of 26 minutes to read and understand.
That means if someone were to read the T&Cs of all 100 top sites it would take them nearly two whole days to do so.
If online firms were to take a step back and think this through, there are potentially significant gains to be made from taking a more proactive approach to customer privacy. Some studies have shown that, far from being apathetic and fatigued by the sheer volume of data breach stories in the news, customers are genuinely concerned about where and how their data is used. In fact, Deloitte claimed that 63% had responded to say that they don’t have “much or any” confidence that their personal information will be kept safe by the companies they interact with.
Data security 101
Behind those policies, of course, should be a serious data protection strategy. Here are a few must-haves:
- Encryption for the most sensitive data
- Data loss prevention to minimise deliberate or accidental leakage
- Extended Validation SSL for secure data transfer/transactions
- Scan your site and systems daily for malware
- Comprehensive endpoint, email and web security
- Keep all systems patched and up-to-date