One thing you must offer your customers and people associated with your business is security. If you can’t promise that the data you take from them is safe, then they can’t give it to you with confidence. That’s a major factor that will keep people from giving you the information that you need. When designing a site, keep data security in mind at all times. Doing so will ensure that the people who use your designs are protected.
Why Data Security Matters
Data security matters because your data is a major asset for your business and because the care you take with customer data reflects on your reputation.
Customer data is a valuable thing that businesses simply can’t grow without. When you work data collection into a website you’re designing, you’re creating a way for companies to interact with the people they’re most hoping to reach. This point of interaction is important because it’s one of the ways to show a customer exactly what the company or organization can offer. It should be simple, efficient, respectful, and safe.
Losing customer data can be a major blow to any organization. Designing a site where information entered isn’t secure can hamper both the person you’re designing for and yourself when they don’t approach you or recommend you for more work. Losing the data, having it shared with unsavory interlopers, and the negative impact on the customer’s trust are all problems that any company will have to spend time and money to overcome.
This is why it’s essential to gather data securely in the first place. Once you’ve integrated a safe way for customers to share their data, you’ve created a better website. It’s something useful and beneficial that you can be proud of.
Understand Security Features
So what kind of features can help you protect customer data in your website designs?
You’ll definitely want to have an SSL certificate option for customers. SSL stands for secure socket layer and it ensures that information between the site and the viewer’s browser is encrypted. When someone views a site, data is being sent and received on both ends. You don’t want to have an interloper reach out and take or fake that data. It could massively damage the reputation of the organization that the site is for.
You should also use passwords when necessary. If, for example, a company only wants to gather data from a selected group of people, there should be a way to integrate that into any data-collection option. It will help make sure that your customers are able to collect data exactly the way they choose. Passwords are also important when it comes to accessing the data that is collected. Only people with the right credentials should be able to see it.
Another important way to reduce spam when it comes to data collection is the use of captchas. That helps keep the site you design from being a target for bots and other types of attacks. It also keeps the amount of useless data that slips through from being an issue.
Vet Your Programs
If you’re using third-party programs or plugins on your site, it’s important that you choose ones that offer security. You’re only as strong as your weakest addition. Something that doesn’t have strong security leaves a hole that a scammer can enter through. Things that your customers are going to interact with are especially important.
Software or plugins that offer things like social media integration or free forms are a great addition to your site. Just make sure to vet them to make sure they’re backed up by strong security like encryption. Whether you’re using free forms or pricey HTML plugins, check to make sure they offer things like SSL, password options, and captcha integration. If the program you’re looking to include doesn’t, consider choosing another.
Don’t compromise when it comes to security. Sometimes you find a feature you love and want to integrate — but it will make the site less secure. It’s never worth compromising security when there are so many ways to build an equally attractive site that is safe and secure. If you aren’t sure whether something offers security features, move on. Companies that are confident in their security will discuss what they have to offer up front.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Sometimes bigger doesn’t mean better. Even some of the best, most highly regarded plugins have had their share of security vulnerabilities. Do your research before you install anything on your site. Look up user reviews, especially ones done by experts. Don’t assume that because something has been used many times, it’s safe. The case may be that there’s something better.
Past security vulnerabilities that have been addressed aren’t always a red flag. Look what the company has done to improve and decide for yourself whether or not you’re comfortable with them. Don’t ignore your own instincts. It’s okay to pass up something because you don’t feel like it offers the right kind of security. As always, better safe than sorry.
When it comes to building secure websites and collecting data securely, the web designer is the first and most important part of the process. WordPress templates or plugins with security flaws are dangerous because they ensure that the site isn’t built on a firm base. Even the best of security features fail at times – but leaving your site without them is a way to invite that type of negative attention.
When you’re designing a site, choosing a template, or selecting programs and plugins to integrate, always keep security in mind. It’s essential to the long-term health of your customer relations, your website, and your business.