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Why Online Privacy Can Make or Break a Business in 2018

The repercussions of a data hack can be dire, from fraud to identity theft. Consumers are becoming more enlightened on the issue and this can make them snob sites that don't seem secure. When traffic to your site is compromised, your business is affected negatively.

The recent surge in cases involving high-profile data breaches and consumer information misuse such as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal have made users more wary of the state of their data privacy while using the internet.

As a result, internet-savvy consumers are paying a closer attention to the privacy features of sites they visit before making use of them. This should be a wake-up call for any business even if it is offering high quality products.

Privacy Policy Violations 

Information is regarded as one of the most powerful tools for businesses. Companies utilize the information gathered from users to improve their products according to the consumers’ needs. This helps give them a competitive advantage as they are able to give the customers exactly what they need.

Consumers give out this information with the confidence that it is being utilized for their own benefits and won’t be shared to any third parties without their consent. However, the desperation for higher profits is driving these companies to abandon their privacy policies at the expense of the users.

Advertisers and marketers cough up big sums of cash in order to promote their products or services. Your personal information is of utmost value to them, and they’ll go out of their way to get it. Details about your gender, age, online activities, medical records, financial status and location are all used to customize the adverts that you recieve.

Many consumers are usually left puzzled after specific ads pop up conviniently promoting the products or services they need at the moment. The consumers are usually unaware of the unethical model of operation utilized by the marketers. 

Companies that pride themselves on providing quality free products are the main culprits when it comes to privacy policies misrepresentation. It is by no means easy to run a successful online operation without any source of capital. Instead of making money from the products they offer, they sell your personal information to make more and more profits. Some businesses also work in cahoots with other businesses in unrelated industries and exchange consumers information for free so as to help each other expand their market’s reach.

The violation of privacy policies, which were created by the companies themselves, is quite unfair and shows that most businesses don’t really care about their customers.

Impact of Online Privacy on a Business

The rate at which more and more companies are suffering data breaches is unsettling. Stopping cyber crime perpetrators is proving to be impossible as they always seem to be one step ahead. However, most consumers are of the opinion that hackers continue to triumph since most organizations are negligent and don’t give much precedence to data protection. A 2018 research carried out by Veritas Technologies showed that more than 36% of the customers are unsatisfied with how businesses safeguard their information. As a business, the importance of protecting consumer information cannot be overlooked.

The Federal Trade Commission and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have made sure that there will be severe consequences for businesses that misrepresent privacy policies and those that fail to protect consumer information. The GDPR was put in place to give the European consumers more power over the information businesses collect, and penalties for non-compliance came into effect on May 25th.

Some consumers want the penalties increased and have also pledged to impose sanctions themselves on non-compliant companies. Dealing with consumer imposed sanctions is no mean fete for any company. Customer loyalty is what drives a business, losing it can mean loss of revenue and ultimately business closure. Some of these sanctions include boycotting the company’s products and services, encouraging friends and relatives to do the same, posting negative company reviews online and promoting rival companies.

Businesses that put in place tougher measures to improve privacy will not only be in good books with their customers, but they will also be shielded against hefty fees that will most likely bring down their competition. It doesn’t matter how big or small your establishment is, you cannot afford to be modest with online privacy.

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