There are many tools to ease this process, and after the first hard steps, the process is enjoyable and rewarding. It sure is a great feeling when your website is functional, easy to navigate, not overloaded with effects, but has a minimalistic view, and the traffic is growing daily.
However, there’s one more thing to consider, that’s become more important by the day.
People and web-designers started talking a lot about cybersecurity, and for a good reason. Cybercrime is rising and is predicted to keep growing for the foreseeable future. Websites are getting hacked daily, and data-leaks are shaking the entire industry. From Marriott hotel to Facebook, businesses face a constant threat from cybercriminals, and confidential user data ends up in the wrong hands.
In this article, we’ll overview the current situation regarding data-protection, cybersecurity, and web-design.
Privacy issues and data-leaks
Privacy has become a massive issue in the last few years. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, announced in 2019 that “Future is private.” It’s hard to believe his words when Facebook has been caught collecting extensive amounts of data on their users. On the other hand, cybersecurity forefather and the creator of the first Anti-Virus software John McAfee also stresses the importance of privacy.
With the rise of social media and social networks, there’s an undeniable shift towards reducing privacy. People are willingly uploading tons of information about themselves, and that’s not necessarily a problem. The problem starts when third party agencies use this data for their ends without user consent.
But what can this data be used for? At best, it’s sold to marketing agencies that use it to target Internet users with ads. However, the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that it could also be used for political ends, to give some parties an advantage.
Finally, there’s a data leak, and the user-data ends up in cybercriminal hands; it can be used for Phishing or extortion, having much more dire consequences. If people don’t use a password manager https://nordpass.com/secure-password/, after the data-leak they’re at risk to lose their online accounts and can suffer financial damages.
So what can you, as a web designer, do to protect your users’ data? Here are a few tips.
The fundamental principle of handling data on your website is to keep it to an absolute minimum. For quite some time, web-developers thought it’s better to take more data than necessary, just if it’s needed some time in the future. Even if username, e-mail, and password were sufficient, there were questions about the address, phone number, and personal details like gender and age.
Over time this proved to be a faulty practice. Without being able to protect the user-data adequately, these services gathered enough to become a target for cybercriminals. And then one data-leak followed the other, which, sadly, continues to this day.
With the emergence of GDPR in the European Union and a few other similar projects outside of the EU, it becomes the website owners duty to protect the user data and answer to the law if it’s lost. So when designing your blog header or webpages, always keep in mind what data is necessary for it to function and what’s excessive and should not be used.
Data use notifications
Another important notice is data use notification. One way or another, you usually require some data about your users, whatever your services are. However, you have to inform users what data is collected and where it will be used. If you’re sharing it with third parties, it’s mandatory to inform the client.
Automatic data-gathering, such as cookies, need to be supervised. Almost all websites now inform the client that they want to store a cookie, and there are options to deny them at the clients’ request. The worst thing that could happen is for you to collect the data without the users’ knowledge, and then, due to lack of cybersecurity protection, leak it in some unfortunate accident.
To summarize, cybersecurity is of utmost importance these days. Imagine if your website offers financial transactions, and you store credit card information. If this information ever leaked and someone lost money because of that, it would be a direct and severe hit to your reputation.
That’s why even website designers now should have at least some knowledge of cybersecurity risks. And consider them when developing their online page.
Henny Kel is a digital marketer, brand consultant, and business strategist with Designhill, a reliable marketplace for Custom logo design, business cards, web design, T-shirt printing, and other graphic design products. With extensive experience working both client side and within the agency environment, he has authored several articles on topics related to digital marketing, business strategies, and content marketing.