IF YOU ARE USING Free Digital Business Tools, YOUR COMPETITION Could Get access to Your Secrets

When the merchandise is free, you will be the product — therefore is your computer data.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how Facebook, Google and other tech companies have sold personal information to virtually anyone who would like it. Hopefully, consumers became more alert to how their private information could be gathered, sold, resold and used to control them with fake news, into buying things and even voting for a specific candidate. However, businesses is probably not as aware that their information can be vulnerable. Facebook and Google could be mining your data because of their own purposes or selling it to your competition.

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The lesson is "if the merchandise is free, you’re the merchandise," but businesses have to know this also pertains to them. Invest the a free of charge Gmail account from Google or use Google Drive, or join Facebook’s new Facebook Workplace, you’re registering for a free of charge service. So, what does which means that? Your business may be the product. Your computer data belongs to you and Google and Facebook. Yes, your corporate data with all of your confidential information and email exchanges participate in Google and Facebook.

The free service business design is to market advertising. These businesses make their products valuable to advertisers giving them finely sliced profiles of their users. To get that finely sliced data, they use what’s called data crawlers. They crawl for data and information, which is particularly true with Google, which uses those crawlers to catalog and rank the web for its search engine. Do you consider they’re not crawling your business data on Gmail and Google Drive aswell? And in the event that you put your files on Facebook Workplace, do you consider they don’t really have full usage of that data?

Moreover, in the tech industry, big companies used to steal the merchandise ideas of smaller companies by inviting them right into a meeting on the guise of a potential acquisition. After gaining a knowledge of the technology, they’d deploy their massive resources to recreate the theory faster and with an increase of marketing behind it.

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With data crawlers, they don’t really have to visit the trouble of inviting you in to the office showing them your work. They are able to see it. No you might be the wiser if indeed they happened to create an identical idea.

Beyond big concerns like data tracking, these free services aren’t secure, encrypted work environments. Having your company are powered by a free of charge service leaves you available to data breaches and hackers because Google and Facebook aren’t worried about protecting your data. They’re worried about protecting theirs.

Cell phones are another way to obtain privacy concern. Keep an eye on the apps your team uses on the cellular devices and how those apps track and share your computer data. Android phones are notoriously open. You can’t shut down location tracking on a Google phone, and Android applications are regarded as riddled with malware.

If privacy may be the new black for individual users, it should be for small businesses aswell. Small businesses have to create a culture of privacy and data protection from the get-go. While it’s tempting to use free services like Gmail or Google Drive or Facebook Workplace, you create a culture it doesn’t value privacy and confidentiality. Furthermore, your precious non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are worthless if you are handing over your computer data to some of the largest tech companies on earth free of charge.

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Below are a few easy methods to make privacy an insurance plan from day among your startup:

1. Avoid free productivity services like Facebook Workplace, Gmail, Google Drive or Google Cloud . While it’s tempting to benefit from free services, when you upload your computer data to their cloud, it’s no more just your computer data. It belongs to them aswell. Plus, you do not want a central repository of most your company’s sensitive information in a single, unencrypted location, at the mercy of hacking and data breaches.

2. Don’t mix business and private communications. One hack, one malware infection and you lose both company and personal data.

3. Adhere to GDPR, even though you aren’t necessary to do so. It’s an excellent set of rules and can prepare you for future expansion and growth into other countries.

4. Avoid Android phones . While iPhones likewise have malware, Android is a lot less secure and a back door to encrypted messages, this means it’s a back door for hackers aswell.

5. Use encryption . Use encrypted storage, email and file sharing.

The proliferation of data tracking and gathering will still only increase as big tech companies fight to possess the most comprehensive group of data for his or her advertising customers, artificial intelligence algorithms, and their some other clients who trade information about you as well as your company. Protecting your computer data will continue steadily to get harder. And there is no doubt data breaches increase and have much more serious consequences. The first step as a business owner is to safeguard your valuable, confidential data as a cultural value and good governance right from the start.

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