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How to mine customer data the right way

Robert Vamosi | March 15, 2011
You have to run a business, and that requires understanding what interests your customers. But you also want to do the right thing and protect your customers' privacy.

Despite the given privacy policies of a site, when creating an application make sure that your developers follow some form of secure software development lifecycle. Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM) is an open framework, adaptable for both small and large businesses; it is derived from the secure development practices employed at Google, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, and 27 other companies worldwide. By securing their code at the beginning, businesses can avoid the embarrassment of seeing their application singled out as having "privacy issues" by third-party security products.

Follow the Rules

Whatever method you use to build up customer lists, abide by these few simple rules.

  • Always be clear as to what contact information you are asking the customer to provide.
  • Don't overstep; ask for the bare minimum from your customers.
  • Clearly state what opt-out options exist. If sending a newsletter, include an opt-out option within each issue.
  • Create a privacy policy that explicitly states how your company will use the collected information. The greater transparency your company offers, the fewer problems.
  • Design apps that follow the best security practices to avoid embarrassing privacy issues later on.


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