Spotlight on InfoComm


If AV Integrators Don’t Follow These 4 Data Privacy Guidelines, They Should be Held Accountable

AV integrators are at least partially responsible for their customers’ data privacy. Here are lessons learned from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Daniel Newman Leave a Comment
If AV Integrators Don’t Follow These 4 Data Privacy Guidelines, They Should be Held Accountable

Over the past few weeks we have heard a ton about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, hacks, misappropriated data and intrusions of privacy. While there are sort of two camps on the issue — #DeleteFacebook and #HowAreYouSurprised — this has led to a rise in awareness on data privacy and transparency among AV integrators.

It has brought to question why Facebook, Google and Apple have so much data on us, what they are doing with it, and what we have truly volunteered versus what has been taken in less transparent ways.

One thing is for sure, data is the most valuable asset on the planet these days.

One of my favorite things to share when I’m delivering keynotes is a little bit about how every company is a tech company and that is because every company is a data company.

We collect a lot of data, public and private, about our customers, our employees, our vendors and so on. And with great data comes great responsibility, and that great responsibility is to know protecting customer and employee data isn’t something to be taken lightly.

As someone who spends a lot of time researching digital transformation and exploring the way data is changing customer experience for good, there is also a need to constantly be monitoring the ways that data can cause us problems, and what companies that don’t feel a lot of responsibility for data privacy need to do instead.

A lot of small businesses, like AV integrators, can often find themselves in this category. So here are a couple of things that I suggest AV integrators work on sooner than later.

1. Privacy Policy (internal and external)

What is your policy for handling employee and customer data. How is it used and how is it stored? This should be available to any/all that ask.

This way there are no surprises later and if you do get hacked, the customers know what data you have stored on them so you can help them and they can help themselves.

2. Cybersecurity Strategy

In most cases I recommend outsourcing this to professionals, however, at the very least meet with a strong IT services team and get a solid recommendation for securing all of your devices and data.

While smaller companies in the AV space may or may not be a hot target for hackers, if the front door is left wide open, it’s easy to get caught with your pants down.

3. BYOD and Personal Device Use Policies

This is an easy place to have all of your hard data privacy and security work fall on its face. Many companies have employees on their personal devices messaging customers, downloading attachments to emails and storing data on their devices without any sort of mobile device management solution.

This isn’t necessarily something that needs to be eradicated, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

4. Employee Education

Phishing and Stupidity are hard to combat but don’t know is often the easiest way to get your data exposed. “I didn’t know that wasn’t a real email from Google,” or “I didn’t know that 1234 wasn’t a great password.”

At the very least, teach and preach the basics.

As IBM CEO Ginny Rommeti said so profoundly a few years back, “Data is the new Oil.”

So even though we may think most of the data that we keep record of is mundane or wouldn’t be interesting to hackers or other outsiders, then you may in fact be wrong. But perhaps the bigger consideration here is to think about the data that you have, and how you are protecting it.

From customer credit card data to employee social security numbers to building schematics of facilities where you have done installations, AV integrators have a lot more data than they may think and that data may be more sensitive than it may appear.

Free Resource: Business Data, Analytics and The Potential for Integrators

As an integrator, protecting all of that data isn’t something that should be taken lightly. This means having a data privacy policy, a more robust cyber security strategy and thoughtful policies for BYOD and other personal device use where company data moves between your networks and other networks.