cyber-security

Sponsered Post

When implementing new systems and areas of infrastructure, one of the main concerns should be improving customer data privacy. Cybersecurity is a real threat to organizations, opening the door to potential litigation if data privacy protocols are not up to par. Your web developers have an obligation to create an environment where customer data is safe and secure. A number of customers attempt to take matters in their own hands by using VPN services, especially when they find services that allow them to  try VPN for 30 days. In their minds, they are taking control of their own data privacy.

The web developer has a  very important role, as organizations must be careful about how they collect and handle data. Their challenge is in creating a platform where the data collected delivers a personalized experience on the company’s end while supporting a web design that also protects the user. Through the implementation of a strong privacy policy, this can be a reality. Here are a few ways this can be accomplished: 

Data Privacy Audit 

The web developers won’t know what needs to be protected until there is an audit done to determine what types of data the company collects and stores. Once this is done, the data strategy can be created that will have a data management schedule for collection, storage, and destruction. A data security policy will provide guidance on what to do when data breaches occur, as well as determining which employees will need and have access to that data. 

Privacy by Design Framework 

There are many EU customers doing business all over the globe. With tier stringent rules in place, it is important for web developers to have a Privacy by Design framework in place that exceeds legal compliance. Using a Privacy by Design framework, developers adopt a privacy-first, best practice mindset where they will anticipate, manage, and prevent any privacy issues before they start writing website code. By doing this, they will be able to reduce any privacy issues that may come up by taking action before the problem arises. 

Be mindful of privacy 

Although companies want to deliver a robust personal experience, they should never sacrifice a customer’s privacy for personalization. Honestly, personalization comes at a high cost to organizations, as there cannot be a tailored experience unless personal data is gathered from users. The web developer must make the choice of choosing privacy over everything, even when the organization is saying otherwise. They must take the lead in showing organizations why less is more. The more data a company extracts from a customer, the more data that can be compromised. 

Coordinate with designers 

Web developers and designers must work together to get it right. While the goal is to build a functional, robust website, they must not discount security. Every website needs some personal data to provide great user experience, but they must begin by asking the hard questions of what types of data will be collected, why, how it will be used and most of all, how will this data be secured and protected. Without proper collaboration, the results could be disastrous. They should also work with risk management to understand the data security plan.

Pay attention to front-end protocols 

Web developers and designers must pay attention to protecting against client XSS, being careful with HTML5 elements, cookies, CORS, Iframes, and APIs. The security protocols begin at this stage of the development cycle. 

Once these steps have been taken, the company must enforce their safety protocols to ensure customers and the infrastructure is protected. From an internal standpoint, they must do the following:

Keep software up to date 

How many times have you heard about breaches taking place because the IT department failed to update system patches? Hackers know this all too well and work on targeting security flaws in software and infrastructure. 

Passwords

Does your company have a strong password policy, and are there ramifications in place if the rules are violated? Are all the employees trained? Do they understand how they should not share passwords? Most of all, is there a policy in place where passwords are automatically prompted to be changed every 60 to 90 days? Protocols should require passwords to be at least 10 characters long, using characters, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters. The more complex, the harder it will be to be compromised.

Login encryption 

SSL Encryption is your friend. This allows any sensitive customer information to be securely transmitted. Anything entered on a page is encrypted, preventing hackers from accessing this private data. 

Secure hosting 

How strong is your hosting provider? This makes a tremendous impact on the level of security. Make sure your host is doing everything they can on their end to keep your website secure. They should also be backing up your data to a remote server, making it easy to restore in the event your site is hacked. How strong is their technical support? All of this makes a difference. 

Clean websites 

Avoid unnecessary applications, plugins or databases that could present a window of opportunity for hackers. Delete any of these that are no longer in use. You should also delete old files on a recurring basis and an organized file structure to keep the integrity of your information secure. 

Backups

Backing up your site on a regular basis is key. Maintain backups of all your website files in the event your data becomes lost. The hosting provider should have backups of their servers, but backing up your files on a regular basis should be second nature. 

Vulnerability scans 

Your IT and risk management teams should have regularly scheduled scans for vulnerabilities in the server and websites. Scans should also be performed after any patch, change or addition to the website. 

Customers are becoming savvier as it relates to protecting their data. This is one of the reasons why using a VPN has become the norm. While many websites boast they have security protocols in place, customers are uneasy with the extraction of their information, realizing the need for alternatives that will allow them to operate and conduct business on the internet from anywhere without fear. VPNs help alleviate these concerns. In fact, some companies have also started using VPNs on their servers. 

Why VPN? 

For people concerned about securing their data, a VPN (virtual private network) creates a private tunnel between their system and the server of their VPN service provider. VPNs create a foundation of trust for users and provide a way to mask identities and information while conducting business or transactions. VPN services were created to hide what’s going on behind the scenes from ISPs, public networks and any third parties that may wish to compromise their information. 

How safe is a VPN? 

If using a top-notch VPN provider, they will have transparent privacy policies that show how information is encrypted, they take steps to fix any leaks and do not keep logs of browsing history. When using VPN software, the device being used is connected to the VPN servers, with any internet traffic from the customer being cloaked from the ISP and websites. This prevents the websites from logging their information, adding an additional layer of protection and safety from their information being compromised. 

Data leaks from major companies have increased the number of people using VPNs to safeguard their data, but in the event, a web page is blocked, they can usually circumvent that blockage. In essence, VPNs help protect online privacy and data by having no IP address leaks, no logs, a kill switch, and multifactor authentication. 

Companies who consider these factors when working with their web designers and developers have a greater chance of maintaining their integrity, building customer trust and being able to successfully function without consistent threats. Web developers working for organizations should work to implement a number of VPN protocols to make the site more effective and secure in protecting customer data. 

In today’s cybercrime climate, it’s important for all parties on the risk management team to implement safety protocols that offer a higher level of protection while reinforcing to C-suite management the need to alleviate collecting data that is not needed. By following the right protocols and implementing these tips, web developers should be able to help construct strong front and back-office scenarios that make the difference while providing heightened security protocols. A strong team creates strong protocols and protects customer data privacy at every level. How does your team measure up? 

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