Protecting customers’ privacy is essential to maintaining and increasing sales and profits online. As a small-business owner you should start by developing a privacy policy, posting it on your Web site, and then living it. For guidelines on formulating privacy guidelines for your company, visit Web sites such as www.privacyalliance.org and www.privacyrights.org.

Next, put top-notch security systems in place to make sure that customer data is not lost, misused, altered, or stolen. Require that all third parties you deal with provide similar data security. Finally, don’t provide personal information collected from customers to anyone else unless you have explicit permission from the customers to do so.

Ken Yancey CEO SCORE Washington, D.C.

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