Data is at the heart of one of the biggest dilemmas of the modern age in I.T. On the one hand, your data are detrimental to your decision-making processes. Without data, you lack information on what is going on, both in your business and in the market. And without reliable information, your business decisions may not meet your target. Besides, data are also chunks of information that you share with your audience. Potential customers may refer to visible data about your company to gain an overview of your prices, services, delivery policies, or even location. When you think of data as pieces of content designed to address your audience’s queries, it becomes indispensable to promote maximum accessibility.
But, on the other hand, your data can make your business and your customers vulnerable if they land in the wrong hands. Hackers have made it their mission to breach data security measures and access confidential information that can be used for profit. While payment data are a popular target for hackers, many have developed complex strategies to reach the sensitive core of organizations. From there, they can not only read payment data, but also steal customers’ identities, detract business processes, and freeze server activities for crypto-mining purposes.
There it transpires that data need to establish a healthy balance between accessibility and protection. Defining where data accessibility starts and where it ends without putting data protection at risk requires a strict digital strategy.
What does it mean to promote data accessibility?
At the heart of the data conundrum, you need to define precisely the level of data accessibility you require. Indeed, data accessibility refers to the way you deliver your content, both for business actors and customers.
Making your content digestible
Accessibility, from the Latin accessus, which means approach or advance, needs to promote an easy way for your audience to approach your business information. In other words, publishing your data online is not enough to claim they are accessible. You also need to focus on making your content easy to understand for the typical digital user. The attention span online is around 8 seconds, which makes it hard to convey information in a text format. As such, using data visualization tools and best practices to create a visual representation of complex information is the preferred method. Graphs and infographics can handle large sets of data and convey a powerful message in a matter of seconds.
Ensuring all users can visit the site
As mentioned before, publishing your content online doesn’t mean it is accessible. For disabled users, a website that doesn’t promote accessibility for screen-readers or any other assistive technology fails to share its content adequately. It is the responsibility of the business to provide their users with a website that supports data sharing for all. First of all, the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA for short, includes sites, which means that a non-accessible website is a violation of Title II of the ADA. You’re not just keeping customers excluded from your content, but you are also at risk of receiving a legal complaint.
Make your data easy to find
The fact that users can read and access your data is one thing. Maintaining clear access for crawlers and search engines is another. Ensuring full data accessibility for your website begins with your technical factors, such as structured data. Schema.org is a semantic language of microtags that can be added to your HTML code to make its content more readable and accessible to search engines such as Google or Bing. The tags help to clarify your content, and therefore improve the indexing process. Search engines can gain a better understanding of your site, and hence, rank it higher in the results of relevant search terms.
Where does data protection start?
Public data need to remain accessible at all times. On the other hand, confidential and personal data require protection from unwanted access. For a lot of businesses, managing both accessibility and data protection is a tricky challenge, especially in a business world that has moved toward the digital sphere.
Keeping your information and business protected
As more and more companies rely on cloud solutions and digital tools, monitoring and anticipating threats is, by far, the biggest challenge small businesses face. With over 60% of small businesses dramatically affected by cyber-attacks, it has become essential for companies to rely on managed I.T. services for protection. Indeed, I.T. experts can help to prevent harmful cyber-attacks and keep hackers at bay. Security breaches can, unfortunately, have devastating consequences. As such, preventive methods for data protection are more effective than patching up issues once after a hack.
Knowing best practices
Hackers are becoming smarter. Many use hacking tools bought on the dark web. However, these tools can be easily spotted and rendered harmless by a managed I.T. service provider. On the other hand, scams and phishing emails rely on human psychology and weaknesses. Hackers can receive personal information directly through emails if they target their victims skillfully. Pretending to be a new colleague and asking for a protected password can lead to a data breach. Alternatively, some hackers rely on creating scam emails that implement a sense of urgency, such as inviting recipients to log into their online account through a link on the email. The method is used to copy confidential passwords. Therefore, knowing how to recognize potentially dangerous communication can help protect your data.
Protect your customers’ data
As a business, you need to take additional measures to protect your customers’ data. Securing your data storage facilities is the first step you need to take. Additionally, you need to consider all areas on the website where your customers can share confidential information. HTTPS offers secure communication over a computer network, which means that data are encrypted. As such, hackers will find it hard to lift private data from online forms. Additionally, if your website promotes online payment methods, you need to focus on secure payment solutions.
Ultimately, data protection starts where data accessibility ends. Managing both with equal success is a delicate balancing act that requires strategic thinking and planning. Businesses need to work in close collaboration with data experts to design the best approach to protection and accessibility for all. Keeping your data visible to the relevant targets and invisible to hackers is the key to managing your digital data effectively.