Data and privacy: what it means for you and your business

Data is a powerful tool for companies, but it’s important to be aware of the privacy issues surrounding the collection and use of personal data. In light of the recent Facebook privacy breaches where third-party apps collected data from up to 87 million users, people are more aware than ever of how their data is used and who has access to it. Users and businesses alike must be conscious of how and where their data is collected and used - whether it’s knowing what data you personally provide to companies, or how your business protects the privacy of the data you collect. While much of the news reports a negative view on the matter data isn’t all bad - personalisation, better experiences and relevant advertising are just some of the benefits of utilising data in your business and personally. 

Personal data

When it comes to your personal data it’s important to understand what permissions you are giving. Data is incredibly powerful for many companies, so make sure you take the time to understand the terms and conditions when you sign up for a product or service. Be aware of what data they collect and how your information can be used. It’s not just social media apps like Facebook – consider what you share through your phone, apps, loyalty cards, credit cards, location services, GPS devices and even vehicle manufacturers. Data you provide can be used so companies understand you better, provide insights into you as a user for more relevant advertising, or to help a product or service work better for you. A good example of this is connectivity of vehicles. Many cars utilise location services and connect to Google to ensure up to date information on the fastest routes and traffic updates when driving. Connectivity options can also allow your car to feedback constant information to the car manufacturer on its performance. This means that when you take your car to be serviced it allows for more tailored and relevant servicing based on the information provided. 

Business data

When it comes to your business, you have a responsibility as a company to protect the data that you gather or purchase. Think about how you are collecting, storing, protecting and using data, and the permissions you have to do so. Be aware of what data your business gathers and where it comes from. Know where the data is collected, what is collected and where it is stored. Ensure that your storage of information is secure and protecting the privacy of users - it’s worth the investment as it provides a wealth of knowledge about your customers. When you use data ensure that you understand your permissions of use. By taking care around the collection and protection of data, you can enhance customers experiences and drive your business and the bottom line.

Utilising data 

Recent events have caused much scaremongering around the usage of data, but it’s important to remember that there are many advantages of utilising data when done right. Data is all about personalisation – whether you are a company using data or an individual providing your data, the use of data will give better experiences. As a business, you should use data to personalise user experiences, including advertising and marketing. Experiences and messages that are tailored to users are much more valuable than a generic message. Collecting data provides a means for business intelligence, ensuring that you are driving your business decisions using meaningful information. Look to companies that are doing it well for inspiration – the likes of Netflix and Amazon are data driven businesses, that use their data to better their consumers experiences. Knowledge of behaviours and preferences of different users allow them to tailor specific and relevant content. It’s about providing better experiences for users, advertising the right products at the right time and providing experiences that are meaningful and relevant – whilst driving your business and the bottom line.

Jai Ivarsson is’s Head of Product and Development. With experience working with successful start ups, Jai specialises in finding pragmatic solutions that allow for fast growth.

This article first appeared in M2 magazine.

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