As a business or individual with an application there are some scenarios we need to keep in mind that might not be as prominent as the features or the potential market. With each site or application, it is common practice to collect user information for a multitude of reasons which we will explain below. This carries a huge responsibility as a custodian of this information because you have to make sure you use this data appropriately and keep it secure from misuse or hackers. Being that your data might contain personal information of your users, you could be opening yourself or your company to potential lawsuits or prosecution if you don’t have policies and procedures explaining exactly how this data will be used, who will have access it and you intend to protect your users from misuse.
Why Data is Collected
There are some valid reasons why companies collect user information on their applications and sites.
1. Verify Identity: Your personal information is sometimes collected in order to verify your identity. This could be part of a security measure, age restriction policy or identity theft prevention.
2. Personalize Experience: Your data could be collected to enhance your experience using the application or site. Your data is used to analyze your preferences which in turn will be used to personalize your interaction with the application.
3. Improvements: The user data collected can be used to perform analysis to determine user insights which is used to make improvements to the application.
4. Security: You can collect user data to protect the integrity of your application by making
sure your users are lawful and appropriate.
With all this data in your hands, you now have a responsibility to protect your user information and inform them how this data will be handled. There are some reasonable actions you can take to make your users aware that their data is in the right hands and you are taking steps towards keeping it safe.
- Minimize Invasion: Only collect what is necessary in order for users to access your application. Stay away from collecting other personal information that is not important and could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
- Secure User Data: Make sure that wherever your user data is being housed, it is secure and you are taking the appropriate information security measures.
- Communicate: Always let users know whenever their information has been shared with third parties, what circumstances led to such an occurrence or if there has been a data breach.
By following the below actions, you protect your company from potential bad news and lawsuits that could arise from hacking attacks, misuse and other compromising situations.