Ask yourself an honest question; would you trust your own business? Whether it’s to ensure you get the best deals, protect your data or even secure your personal details, would you really put your utmost faith in your own business–or do you think it could be improved?
Data regulations are becoming more of a big deal as tech companies reveal the inherent flaws of working in a digital environment. In the past, it would take someone physically invading your office in order to steal data, but now with the internet, your data is pretty much always connected to the internet and there’s always going to be some smart hacker that manages to break in and cause damage.
Trust between a business and its customer base is a sacred thing that must not be broken. Once you snap it, it’s never going to be repaired and your reputation as a business is going to sink into oblivion no matter how hard you turn up the damage control. Any easy way to start would be to simply ask yourself the question; do you really trust your business?
Data breaches make it hard for us to trust businesses
Just take a look at Facebook’s complete lack of privacy, inconsistency and zero respect for its users. Facebook might be a company that’s all over the world and has a huge name attached to its brand, but do you think that Facebook can really be trusted? Unfortunately, it’s created a somewhat symbiotic relationship with the internet; if you’re online, then there’s a good chance that Facebook is something you’re aware of or even use. In fact, you may have already given your personal information to Facebook at some point in the past and it’s likely floating around on the internet somewhere.
Sites like haveibeenpwned.com have been, unfortunately, posting a lot of information regarding recent internet breaches and data that has been released into the public. For example, popular calorie tracker and fitness server MyFitnessPal was breached in February 2018 with 144 million unique email addresses, IP addresses and emails being stolen. The data was then listed for sale in 2019 along with several other large breaches and the data has since been circulating all over the internet. It only takes one mistake for millions of usernames and emails to be compromised.
With so many breaches and security vulnerabilities, it’s incredibly difficult to put our faith in businesses that pay no attention to their data security measures. Now that data security regulations such as the GDPR are in effect, some companies are starting to take security more seriously due to the hefty fines that could ruin a business that isn’t careful. There are also new technologies such as Jumio, the ID verification solution that produces fast results, and even new businesses that focus on helping companies meet regulatory requirements that are needed for a company to be compliant with the GDPR and other similar security standards.
Hopefully, the future has more in store for us regarding data security and how much faith we can put into businesses, but at the moment, it’s looking a little grim in terms of who we should really trust with our data.
Trust is the most valuable business commodity
However, we all know that even with the most advanced security measures, someone is going to eventually break into a seemingly impenetrable system through some ridiculous means and then uncover data that is supposed to be completely hidden from hackers. After all, it’s almost impossible to create a truly impregnable system that doesn’t hinder its users from accessing the data inside. You can make it difficult to break into something, but the reality is that with all kinds of social engineering tricks, phishing attempts and security vulnerabilities in programs, someone is going to break in and get what they’re looking for.
At the end of the day, nothing is hack proof but we can make it hard to break into. However, what’s even more important is being a trustworthy business while utilizing these countermeasures to create not a secure business, but one that can be trusted.
Transparency is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your audience is on your side. Without transparency, your audience will be left in the dark to assume things, speculate and potentially exaggerate things. If you’re a trustworthy business, then you’ll alert your audience whenever something has been breached (this is a requirement of the GDPR) and you’ll let them know how it happened with complete transparency so that you can regain their trust. When a breach happens, you’re going to be met with negative response but it’s how you act after the damage is done that will really define how you appear in the eyes of the consumer.
“Treating others like we’d like to be treated” is arguably one of the most simple and straightforward guiding principles that we can follow. We all aspire for our businesses to be trusted, but most companies don’t even consider the importance of transparency or keeping their customers in the loop. It’s not even just about data security–it’s about business in general.
Start treating your customers like you respect them
We all have different levels of “respect” that we offer our customers, but if you’re not keep them in the loop with everything that’s happening in your business and being transparent then you’re fostering a poor business culture that will even extend to the office. Being a transparent company comes with many advantages such as improving employee happiness, being able to recruit more skilled workers and creating an atmosphere where your customers have more faith in you.
At the end of the day, your product is only a part of your success. The other part is dependent on how you interact and treat your customers. Even if your product isn’t perfect, your excellent customer experience, service and generally trustworthiness can go a long way if you want to become a successful company. Just remember the golden rule; treat others how you’d want to be treated.