Major companies like Facebook and Amazon have been using private information – your interests, purchases, age, gender, etc. – to present you with a personalized experience for years. If you share that you like a band on Facebook, you’ll certainly receive ads for that group’s new albums and tour dates. The first time you buy diapers for your new baby, Amazon will suggest a myriad of baby products for purchase. Just ask Through the Noise Founding Partner Ernesto Gluecksmann.
Obviously, Amazon and Facebook benefit by selling products and advertisements. Now, associations are trying to find ways to leverage this trend to drive engagement. In a recent episode of Tech in Ten, founder of Influent Metrics Tim Simms explains that the software his company provides can help organizations use personal information like location to personalize their websites: Say you live in California and support an association in Washington, DC. The software would adjust the front page of the association’s website to feature California-based events, instead of DC-based ones.
There you have it. Personalization increases sales, engages supporters, and enhances user experience. However, as more sites and apps request to use your information and horror stories about hacking abound, security and privacy must be paramount concerns for associations and their members.
According to 10Pearls Chief Security Officer Peter Hess, users should not have to take any extraordinary actions to make sure the information they provide online to organizations is secure. Many might worry about supplying their social security number for a registration, but they should be able to assume the organization will not store that information once the process is complete.
They should also be able to assume the data that is stored will be protected. You may not be Amazon or Facebook, but your constituents’ personal information is vulnerable no matter where it’s stored, including your association’s site. It’s first and foremost your organization’s responsibility to provide online security to your constituents.
What Associations Should Do
Be proactive, not reactive.
Waiting for a car accident to happen before you install a stoplight is a costly mistake, and so is putting off protecting your website. Too many decision makers at associations think, “well we haven’t been hacked before…” You’ll save time and money if you address potential concerns upfront.
Add layers of security.
The more hurdles you create, the harder it will be for people to hack your site. One of those hurdles is a VPN or Virtual Private Network. By using a VPN, any information your association shares will be encrypted. A hacker would have to hack the VPN first before getting to your unencrypted data.
Hire the right people.
As Through the Noise Managing Partner Mickey Panayiotakis puts it, when it comes to web security, “Everybody knows someone who can do it and they just don’t do a good job, but nobody really knows what a good job looks like.”
You might think you hired a great company to manage your web security, because you’ve never been hacked before…or yet. You could still have a security exploit. A good company will prepare for eventual situations to protect your association, board, and supporters.
Contact Through the Noise
Learn more about how Through the Noise can help you protect you from hackers and security breaches: https://www.infamia.com/take-control-of-multiple-websites.