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How to keep yours and your clients’ businesses safe online

Posted in: Artificial Intelligence, Data, Digital, Opinion, User Experience

In today’s hyper-connected world, ensuring online safety has become more crucial than ever. As the internet is such a key part of our daily lives, potential risks and threats loom, demanding a proactive approach to digital security. So, in honour of Safer Internet Day, we asked the team their advice on how to keep yourself, your business, and your clients’ businesses safe online. 

Andrew Ayling – CTO

My best advice for keeping yourself safe on the internet is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your online and social accounts using the most secure options available. This adds another layer of protection on top of your password, usually by using an authenticator app to your phone that you then need to interact with to prove it’s actually you trying to gain access to your accounts. 

By extension, we use this approach to keep our clients safe, by implementing and enforcing critical cyber-security Identity Access Management (IAM) tools. As a component solely dedicated to verifying and authenticating users across various systems, IAM ensures security and protection for both the company and the user. 

Millie Spalding – Senior UX Strategist

Dark UX patterns affect the psychological safety and wellbeing of users. Many companies use manipulative tactics to deceive and exploit their users, often making them do something they don’t want to do. Practices include hidden costs, forced continuity, disguised ads, inability to opt-out, trick questions, confirmshaming (using guilt or shame to influence decision-making) and more. 

These methods arise when companies prioritise short-term goals and optimising metrics to stay competitive. However, it often leads to a breakdown of trust, frustration, damage to the brand and in some cases, legal repercussions. 

Night night everyone’ is a wonderful example of how we shouldn’t just avoid these practices, but actively improve the lives of people visiting our site. It’s a line of code embedded in the site to put it to sleep at night, reminding the user there is nothing it can offer that is more important than their sleep. 

We’re all responsible for the implications our websites have in the world, which includes the health, happiness, and safety of every user. 

Christian Dunne – Senior Mobile Developer

Any individual or business looking to use AI safely should be sure to identify relevant local rules and regulations. AI is a fast-moving world and although regulations are lagging behind a bit, these are continually changing too, so it’s important to keep on top of any changes that might affect your business or your customers.  

A good starting point is to assess the risk level of your AI. There are a few ways to go about this, but the NIST Risk Management Framework (NIST RMF) calculates risk estimates by multiplying the event’s probability by the magnitude of the consequences of that event. Knowing if the AI you are using is high or low risk helps when planning for compliance and helps build the trust of customers and stakeholders.  

Once you have the basics in place, it’s important to try to mitigate bias and discrimination in any AI tools you use or create. Proactively look for and assess bias in your training data and implement bias mitigation strategies, as well as regularly auditing your AI’s output. 

Megan Thomas – Marketing and Communications Associate

Understanding and embracing regulations is vital to ensuring the safety of anyone we communicate with online, especially our customers. GDPR compliance isn’t a suggestion, but a requirement for anyone who stores the personal data of consumers across EU nations and the UK. Any websites found to be non-compliant are inaccessible in these regions, with some notable examples being Chicago Tribune and LA Times, which were both temporarily blocked when GDPR came into effect.  

Pay close attention to your website, the language you use, and how you’ve set up data storage. Although cookies and opt-ins are allowed under GDPR, the responsibility falls to you to make sure you’re compliant.  

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