Helping your customers towards a safer internet

15th Feb 2023

“Everyone has a role to play in creating and maintaining a better online world.”

That’s one of the central ideas behind Safer Internet Day which took place on 7th February 2023. Now in it’s twentieth year, the day aims to raise awareness of the need to make the internet a safer and better place.

The main focus of the campaign is the provision of safe internet interactions for children and young people; with activities aimed primarily at teachers, and families. However, the campaign also looks to make the internet a safe space for all users. To this end it calls on organisations to design, shape, and adapt their platforms and content, particularly if they are to be used by young people. But it also calls on organisations to promote safe use by encouraging customers to take steps to secure their internet use. For example, a company might require its customers to use strong passwords or two factor authentication when interacting with the company’s main site or sales area.

Those last suggestions come from the National Cyber Security Centre’s ‘Cyber Aware’ home page which also provides links to other areas of potential concern such as the need to regularly and safely back up data or making sure that security updates are not ignored. These might seem like basic actions but organisations which fail to follow simple guidelines such as these are potentially putting their customers in danger.

Even in recent months we’ve seen the consequences of data failures which have led to customers being unable to travel or access their own banking accounts, for example. And we’ve also had warnings of data breaches at organisations which have potentially exposed key customer information to hackers.

Content and data storage

So whilst a safer internet experience involves ensuring that the content you post is both safe and suitable for users it also requires companies to ensure that the way in which their own data is stored and managed respects and secures customer privacy. This is not something which companies should take lightly.

Failure to respect private data not only breaches data protection laws it also breaches the directors’ duty requirements as set out in the Companies Act. This not only requires directors to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence, it also calls on directors to consider the impact of the company’s operations on the community and to maintain a reputation for high standards of business conduct.

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