Introduction: Small Business Tools for Privacy-Friendly Entrepreneurs

Rebecca // July 5 // 0 Comments

Privacy and security can be confusing and overwhelming for a small business.  I know – because I’m going through it myself.  Even as a privacy expert, as a solopreneur, I find that data protection choices can be time-consuming.

As a small shop, I’m dealing with many of the same questions as other small businesses in Switzerland.  I face limited resources and time constraints.  How can I get things up and running, grow my business, and build my brand?  However, as a privacy consultant, I must ensure my house is in order.   This series walks you through the decisions I make, the technologies I choose, and other decisions I’ve met as I’ve built a privacy-first online business.

In this guide, you’ll get tips on tools I use and decisions I’ve made.  If you are a small business in Switzerland (or Europe) that wants to build a privacy-friendly small business, feel free to use my research for your benefit.

Many different online tools are needed to create a small business.  My business provides expert privacy advice for tech companies, and I offer some online courses.  To build my business, I’ve needed to make decisions about all of the following software and services:

  • Email Newsletter: (Why?)
  • Webhost: (Why?)
  • Website building and templating software: WordPress and ThriveThemes (Why?)
  • Website Tracking And Analytics: Burst Statistics
  • Social Media: LinkedIn
  • Customer relationship management  (CRM) – TBD
  • Secure Document Sharing – TBD
  • Video Calls – Zoom
  • Scheduling – (Why?)
  • Accounting – TBD
  • Automated retention and deletion – TBD

In this series, I’ll walk you through my decision-making process for each software and service, as I go through that decision.  To get an email in your inbox when the next part of the series is available, sign up for my newsletter.   I occasionally offer classes, so sign up to the newsletter to hear about them.

In choosing each of these services, I check the features, the price, the support and help like.  While those questions are crucial, additionally I prefer companies that meet the following data protection criteria: 

Data is hosted in Switzerland or Europe.  There are ongoing fines and regulatory actions regarding data transfers from the EU to US companies.  People just aren’t that comfortable that countries outside the EU and Switzerland can offer the same level of privacy protection.  Swiss and EU residents may prefer to keep their data “in-country” and safe from the prying eyes of other governments.

This makes things a whole lot harder for tech companies running on the cloud.  The cloud was not optimized for local data storage, and it can be hard to get assurance that data is stored in a specific country.  

GDPR compliant and GDPR aware.  In looking for software and services, I look at what they say about privacy and GDPR.  Do the companies have a statement about how they respect GDPR?  As most of the companies I’m looking at are targeted at Small and Medium businesses, do they also help us handle GDPR?  Do they provide built-in features around GDPR requirements like data deletion, opt-in permissions, or other privacy-friendly options? 

Transparent and open about data handling.  As a privacy entrepreneur, I need to understand how my choices will impact my client’s data.  Therefore, I prefer companies with easy-to-read privacy policies or clear choices about data handling. While GDPR does require that privacy explanations be clear and understandable, some companies do a better job at putting this into practice than other companies.  

You can jump right to the Ultimate Guide for Privacy-Friendly Email Newsletters

 To get an email in your inbox when the next part of the series is available, sign up for my newsletter.   I also offer classes for small businesses worldwide on how to respect privacy from the start of the business.

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About the Author Rebecca

Dr. Rebecca Balebako builds data protection and trust into software products. As a certified privacy professional (CIPP/E, CIPT, Fellow of Information Privacy) ex-Googler, and ex-RANDite, she has helped multiple organizations improve their responsible AI and ML programs.

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