The Importance of Data Privacy When Conducting Online Research

In a world of digital splendor and information overload, data privacy concerns are quite rightly on the minds of many modern internet users.

For those of you hoping to conduct online market research, recognizing the gravity of this situation is a must.

Failing to do so, or at least, failing to put measures in place to safely handle your customer and business data can lead to some extremely dire repercussions.

Data analysis is often the key to streamlining business processes, but it needs to be done with care – here are some important points to consider for anyone hoping to maximize the value of their online research while staying safe.

Partner with Trustworthy Companies

Many companies choose to outsource their market research to third parties, and while this can be a superb time and money saver, there is the opportunity for disaster through forming the wrong partnership.

Electing to side with trustworthy companies, organizations that have a clear understanding of cybersecurity and an accessible data privacy policy can ensure that you do not go too far wrong.

Moreover, some of the best survey platforms can enable you to utilize DIY research tools, which might be ideal for anyone wishing to develop their own questions while ensuring that their customers’ data is not jeopardized by outside threats.

Always Get Consent

Tracking your customers online without their consent can land you in some seriously hot water, and can also send some big fines in your direction.

This not only looks terrible for your brand, but it will likely put people off using your services in general.

Always ask for consent before getting hold of any customer details, and make sure that you fully outline what you intend to do with them once they give you the go ahead.

This is as much for you as it is for the customer, as it can be a good policy to fall back on should anything go wrong.

Write Your Own Privacy Statement and Policy

Conducting market research online often means getting hold of incredibly sensitive customer data, be it names and addresses or bank details.

Even when fully trusting a company, handing over details of this sort can still be nerve-racking.

A detailed and honest data privacy statement displayed on your website can be a wonderful tool for reassuring your customers.

How Long Do You Intend to Keep Customer Data?

Letting your customers know how long their data will be stored for is crucial, as it represents a wealth of important factors, not least of all being the security levels of the storage itself.

Endeavoring to create a safe and secure database, one that is heavily regulated, updated and protected should be among your top priorities when working with vast amounts of sensitive data.

By establishing a database, you can easily revisit data and dispose of it once you no longer need it.

Keep Personal Data to a Minimum

You might need basic customer info to identify them in the first place, such as their name and email address, but keeping their personal data to a minimum should be high on the priority list.



About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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