Protect Your Information

Data security is very important in the construction industry. Whether it's details about new product research, prospect mailing lists, or building plans, a leaked document can expose manufacturers to liability issues and give competitors an advantage. How do companies make the decision about what information to post online, whether on the company webpage or a social network? My simple guide to online security is this: if you put it online it's not secure. Put differently, don't post anything online unless you're comfortable seeing it on the evening news tomorrow.

A slightly overprotective maxim along the lines of Murphy's Law, to be sure, but every year we hear about banks, government agencies, and online networks having major data leaks, exposing millions of users' confidential information.

This morning's story is that Facebook changed its global privacy policy to comply with Canadian standards.

"Last month the social network was found to breach Canadian law by holding on to users' personal data indefinitely...Facebook has now agreed to make changes to the way it handles this information and be more transparent about what data it collects and why...Elliot Schrage, vice president of global communications and public policy at Facebook, said he believed the new policies set "a new standard for the industry"."

Changes will occur over the next 12 months, but meanwhile almost one third of Canada's population is not getting the level of security they thought the government ensured. As more and more businesses start posting company profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it is important to be aware of these issues.

This is not to say companies should avoid social networks; on the contrary, they can be a powerful tool for reaching and building relationships with your clients. We've always taught that relationship selling is the key to reaching specifiers, and social networks take the concept to the next level. The key is responsible management of the company's online presence.