Technology and the internet are growing at rates often too fast to follow. And while tech companies are pushing the boundaries of the unknown, the users of new tech are getting more and more acquainted with it, with how they can use it effectively and with how they can protect themselves while using it. Every year, users are becoming more and more acquainted with their digital rights as well as the situations that involve them.

It is often implied that necessary measures to safeguard said user rights are a burden for businesses. However, we are here to argue that it’s not necessarily the case. Demonstrating an active knowledge of and a willingness to engage in best practices when it comes to safety can be a marketing tool, an additional way to attract customers to your business.

So, what do you need to know, and how do you go about establishing a reputation as a safe and pro-active business?

Does the public know more?

In some ways, the public is more aware of such issues because recent news coverage has thrust the risks to their own online safety into the spotlight. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which brought to light the fact that the company had acquired the data of over 50 million individuals without consent through the use of a Facebook app, and the ensuing investigation into Facebook is the latest example of this.

Moreover, new European data security legislation (GDPR) is redefining tech rights on a global scale, while new tools are constantly being provided to spread information and general knowledge on these topics. These tools, such as the OWASP Top 10 consensus report, a list of the most common application security issues chosen by professionals and researchers, are providing people with far more detailed knowledge of the threats they and the businesses who hold their data face on a day to day basis, from injection attacks to classic password theft. However, such initiatives also mean that IT professionals are more aware of potential issues, giving them the knowledge necessary to protect infrastructure.

What can you do to present yourself as privacy and security-savvy?

Generally, there are many security and privacy risks online, and the public is more aware of them than ever. As such, you should start by doing a thorough check of your infrastructure and defenses to ensure your business is safe. If you store or use Europe-based individuals’ data in any way you must also check that you are GDPR compliant.

In fact, as becoming GDPR compliant requires providing customers with details on how you store and use their data, companies will have to send out messages to users describing this process. Such emails and other types of messages are a good opportunity to show your user base that you do, even more, highlighting your proactiveness as a brand.

Go public

Once you’re sure that your business’ facilities are secure, and you have double-checked that is the case, it’s time to let the public know. Showing that you understand potential cyber threats to your business and that you are actively and thoroughly employing defenses against them is a brilliant way of attracting new business. Furthermore, you can use social media to engage in discussion with customers on this topic; listening and taking feedback into account demonstrates that your business really is concerned with the safety of its users or customers – and also sends out the message that you value your users.

If you establish a reputation for yourself in this manner, things going wrong won’t necessarily ruin this reputation either. It is rare for a company to run for a significant period without a data issue. It’s very important to continue a professional and open approach when responding to a crisis. For example, in the event of a data breach, actively communicating what has happened as it is happening, and assisting customers affected directly is positive publicity and will bolster most of your customers instead of turning them away.

In this fast-growing world of constantly evolving data threats, knowledge and communication are the key elements to a successful business and amazing reputations. Ensure that you understand the threats to your business, put in place the machinery to protect your business from these threats, and then communicate with your customers consistently on these issues. They will love you for it.