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Employment and Privacy Law Blog

Privacy Is Good for Business

 

Now that I am US and EU privacy certified, I have developed a heightened sense of privacy awareness. Perhaps a tad bit of paranoia too, to be candid. But, what I see everywhere I look are businesses without a sense of the need to protect customers’ and employees’ data. What’s worse, the businesses that do protect such data don’t capitalize on that fact. While they might otherwise stand out for the care they take in the implementing privacy policies, IT security, and risk assessments, they don’t place this information front and center. Why is that a bad thing? Because privacy concerns increasingly impact where people do business. They also affect where people are willing to work. For example, you've likely heard people talking about the controversies surrounding Facebook's ever-changing privacy policy. Perhaps, you've decided not to download certain apps to your phone because their excessive permissions would grant too much access to your phone's information. Undoubtedly, you've heard of recent security breaches releasing consumer data for companies such as Anthem, Target, and Home Depot. These kinds of issues generate a lot of concerns for consumers and make them less willing to patronize such stores. Of course, this phenomenon happens on a smaller level with “mom and pop” businesses, too. Likewise, employees have gotten more concerned about privacy, taking complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when they feel their privacy is invaded in the workplace. The NLRB has rewarded this behavior by issuing countless decisions against employers who regulate what their employees post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

What does this mean for you? It’s simple. The care you take with consumer and employee privacy will affect your bottom line.

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has produced the following infographic, with statistics on how privacy considerations influence consumer decisions about which businesses and websites they want to use. It also includes tips for how you can use this information to strengthen your relationships with customers or clients by improving your actions and policies related to privacy. (Thank you to the NCSA for the permission to use it).