There are several reasons for users to become a part of branded online communities. Whether they wish to know more about a brand’s services or are seeking support to resolve e technical issues, it’s the community manager’s job to ensure that any activity taking place in the community is within the safety limits and community guidelines.
It is necessary to make the forum a safe and enjoyable space for the users and the organization to strike meaningful conversations. However, at times, these discussions can run tense.
One of the most important issues that arise while promoting community participation is that of customer data security. Community members should feel safe while indulging in community activities.
So, what should be a community manager’s plan of action to assure the users that they’re part of a safe space? Let’s find out.
The Impact of Data Breaches
In a survey conducted by Data Privacy Manager, 79% of respondents declared that they’re concerned about how brands use the data collected by them. In another survey conducted by McKinsey 7 Company, 71% of respondents reported that they would discontinue doing business with a brand if it disclosed sensitive data without their permission.
When you’re building a customer community, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll have a lot of data in the form of personal user information at hand that you’ll be processing. Therefore, ensuring that you comply with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA should be your top priority.
We say this because data breaches can do plenty of damage to the reputation of your brand that you’ve worked so hard to build. Data breaches within an online community can cause your customers to lose trust in you. This can also impact their purchasing behavior.
Best Practices for Security and Access Management
In our ever-competitive landscape, it is essential to win your customer’s trust and keep them hooked to your services. Customers have become more informed about data privacy and with the rising concerns over personal data, they are constantly taking measures to protect their personal data with security tools. With this, it has become even more necessary for organizations to ensure data protection and security.
Here are 4 best practices that brands can adopt for security and access management:
- Protect Your Community from Cyber Theft: With hacking and phishing becoming common data invasion practices, ensuring the security of your website tops the best practices list. To ascertain that your community user’s data is safe, you can implement a password strength scale with password setting guidelines. This technique will allow your users to see whether they’ve set a password that’s too weak or strong and prevent password hacks from happening.
- Take Steps to Limit Link Exchange: Since the shareability of links across public platforms is high, it is fairly easy for hackers to develop fake links, trick users into clicking them, and trigger a series of viruses that could jeopardize their privacy. The best practice here should be to curb community users from exchanging hyperlinks via private messages. You can also implement tools in your community that help scan through such links before making a post live.
- Set Violation Rules for Personal Data Sharing: It may come across as preventing users from freely sharing information, but in order to ensure that your community users’ accounts remain safe, you must pull the strings a little. You can highlight the exchange of personal user information on your forum as a violation of your community guidelines. Imposing a ban on posts that contain personal information helps protect your community users.
- Moderate Public Connection Access: Private access to your community will enable you to secure your customer’s accounts and prevent data thefts. Since hackers often resort to public networks, allowing community access over unencrypted connections is not advisable. Private connection access is ideal if you have an internal or closed community.
In the event where community users show harmful behavior in the form of offline violence, cultural slander, or post inciting comments that encourage arguments, such users must face the consequences. Community managers should be well-versed with their community laws and guidelines and must take action to prevent such privacy breaches and ensure safe community activity.
4 Security Measures to Enhance Community Data Protection
Since your community is a shared space where members collaborate, there ought to be a lot of personal customer data that you need to protect.
Here are 4 security measures that will enable you to safeguard your community from any data breaches and thefts:
1. Ensure Privacy Compliance: Given the current scenario, it’s critical that you read the fine print to ensure that your data is lawfully processed. Many platforms disclose, transfer, or share your customer’s personal data with certain third parties without further notice to you. That is why it is necessary that you check if your community vendors are vigilant with data ownership. You must ensure that all data collection methods like landing pages, forms, etc, are CCPA/GDPR-compliant.
2. Acquire Privacy Certifications: Using trust badges on your website or community assures your customers that their information will be stored securely. According to research, 82% of organizations see privacy certifications, such as ISO 27701 and Privacy Shield, as very important when they select a vendor.
3. Perform External Penetration Tests: Whether you’ve built a new community or you’ve revamped your existing community, you must perform an external penetration test, such as Network Service Penetration Testing to identify exposed vulnerabilities and security loopholes in the network infrastructure. This test provides you with a safe and controlled way to test your platform’s efficacy at fending off external attacks that disrupt business operations. These evaluations are in-depth and help to iron out any vulnerabilities.
4. Enable Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Encryption: SSL is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a server and a browser. The role of SSL encryption is to ensure that the data that’s shared remains private and within the network accessibility. Implementing forum software with SSL encryption can be the first line of defense for brands to authenticate the security of their online community and save customer data from hackers.
The safety of an online community is not entirely the job of community managers. It is the responsibility of everyone participating. Creating a space that’s enjoyable and motivating means laying a foundation that’s positive and strong. Only then will an online community flourish and grow.
Wish to build cutting-edge and secure online communities? Let’s talk!
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