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Is your personal website or blog ready for GDPR?

Is your personal website or blog ready for GDPR?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the biggest change in data privacy for 20 years. However, GDPR does not just affect businesses, organisations and charities. It will most likely also require changes to your own personal website of bog. Is your personal website or blog ready for GDPR?

What is GDPR?

Is your personal website or blog ready for GDPR?

Currently the UK uses the Data Protection Act 1998 to govern people’s personal data. However, a lot has changed since 1998. Just think, how much is done online now compared to 20 years ago. GDPR supersedes the Data Protection Act 1998. It introduces much tighter regulations around the storage and use of identifiable personal data. It also brings with it much tougher fines for non-compliance and data breaches. It is also designed to make Data Protection regulations almost identical across the whole of the EU.

Do I need to worry about GDPR with the UK leaving the EU?

Yes. Despite the UK announcing its departure from the EU. GDPR will apply to all EU Member states from 25th May 2018. Whilst the UK is still a member state of the EU. It is also most likely that the entire GDPR will also be brought into UK legislation after the UK has excited the EU, and will therefore still apply.

What does this mean for me?

GDPR is rather complex and I strongly recommend you at the very least read the ICO’s recommendations on GDPR which can be found on https://ico.org.uk. In summary if you collect, hold or use any personal data on your website, including tracking cookies or collect any other identifiable information, you will be affected by GDPR.

What steps do I need to take?

    1. Ensure your website has an adequate Privacy Policy. This should contain an array of information on what information you collect, cookie information, how you use and store personal data and what steps you take to keep  personal data safe. Your Privacy Policy should also remind users of their rights, such as their right to be forgotten.
    2. If you allow users to signup/register to your website, you must make it clear what they are signing up to.
      As part of the signup process, you must make the user view and sign to confirm the terms of signup.
      Include a checkbox which specifically asks the user for their consent to you storing and using their personal default.  If you share any information with any third parties, you must make the user aware and request their permission at sign up.
    3. If you allow visitors to comment on your posts/pages, you must also make them aware and consent to you storing the personal information they have entered. This is the same should you also offer a forum or message board. You must also make them aware of how you will use their data and make them confirm their acceptance of this by checking a checkbox.
    4. If you sell items on your website, as well as the websites ‘Privacy Policy and Terms Checkbox’ you must display a second checkbox. This must ask the user if they consent to you storing the additional identifiable information, such as their shipping address.
    5. If you offer a live chat service, you must get consent from users to store their personal information and messages if you do so. It is also best practice to make them aware how long you store their messages for. E.G. 24 hours.

All checkbox’s must be unchecked by default!

What is ‘The Right to be forgotten’?

If you retain or collect any identifiable information, you must have a ‘Right to be forgotten’ policy in place. This means that a user can contact you at any time, and ask that you remove all of their information that you store on them. All personal data, their IP address, as well as ensuring this is done from all third parties (if any) that you have passed their information to. You must provide this service for Free.

SSL Encryption

If you website does not already utilise SSL Encryption. I would also recommend that you implement this as soon as possible. It will not only help make you’re website more secure, but also make it more trusted. Google also includes SSL Certificate checks as part of its ranking algrithm.

Disclaimer

I am not a legal professional but an IT Professional. I have written this post based on my understanding of GDPR. I strongly recommend that you visit https://ico.org.uk for further information, or contact a professional if in any doubt.

 

Welcome 2018

New Year Resolution’s 2018

New Years Resolution's 2018

OK, so day is New Year’s day 2018. Welcome 2018, but how did that come around so quickly. It feels like it was only 2010 a few days ago? Answers on a postcard. Anyway, here are my New Year Resolution’s 2018.

New Year Resolutions 2018

So in 2017, because I was in my last year of my degree, I decided not to commit to any new year resolutions. Back in 2016 I made a new year’s resolution to enter a competition a day for a whole year. Although a bit on the time consuming side when you add it all up, I did win around £200, and kept the resolution.

Resolution Number 1

So, one of new resolutions in 2018 is too, enter a minimum of two competition’s a day for the whole year. That is my commitment anyway. However, my plan is to enter as many competitions as possible, including for things I do not want or need. Should I win anything I do not want or need, these will be donated to others or charity.

Resolution Number 2

My second resolution is to save money and reduce my carbon footprint. My resolution is to reduce my usage of Electric, Gas and Water year on year. I have all three metred and the volumes for 2017. So to succeed in this resolution, all three need to be under the volumes for 2017 at the end of 2018.

Resolution Number 3

Resolution number 3 is to donate a minimum of £100 across the three main charities I support (Papworth Hospital Charity, Magpas Air Ambluance and The British Lung Foundation). As well as a minimum of £25 worth of food to my local foobank (St Ives Food Bank).

Resolution Number 4

Last but no least my last resolution is to save money this year. By the end of the year I want to have added a reasonable three figure amount to my savings pot. I am going to be realisitic and say at least £250 by the end of the year, but ideally a lot more. To do this I am hoping to reduce spending, get second-hand or free where possible, and budget well.

So, I think four is enough for 2018 and I think all my New Year Resolutions 2018 are achievable. I will provide regular updates on all three and you can check my charity donations on my Charity page.

Happy New Year 🙂

Consumption-based pricing and bill shock

Consumption-based pricing and bill shock

Over the past couple of years there has been a significant move in SaaS pricing from a traditional subscription-based model to a consumption-based model. This typically offers significantly more value for the user. However, if not managed correctly, consumption-based pricing and bill shock can lead to a decline in both usage and customer satisfaction.

Consumption-based pricing is focused around, the more a client uses or consumes a service, the more they are charged. It offers value to the user, as they are only paying for their usage. It also offers value to the SaaS provider, as the more resources a client is using, the more turnover the company achieves. It also has the bonus, that as the Customer Success Teams drives adoption it will lead to a natural increase in revenue from existing customers.

However, if not managed correctly, bill shock can occur which will not only damage your reputation, but also user adoption and repeat business/renewals.

What is Bill Shock?

Bill shock is where a customer receives a bill much higher than they are expecting, or possibly budgeted for and go into a form of shock. The phrase ‘Bill shock’ was originally associated with mobile phone contracts from around 2005 onwards. Mobile phone contracts were sold from as little as £10 a month. However, providers did little to warn customers off hidden costs and additional charges. With many users going from a Pay as You Go billing model, (where once they hit their limit they would not be able to use the service) straight in a subscription and consumption based model, where the user can continue to consume services outside of their tariff, and start incurring additional charges.

For example, a £10 tariff from 2008 would likely include, 50 texts and 50 minutes per month. But say you are used to calling your partner on the bus on the way home from work every weekday. This is around 30 minutes a day, or 600 minutes a month. Calls outside the tariff are charged at 35p per minute. You would then get a bill for £202.50 instead of £10 without any warning.

Bill shock then occurs, which usually takes one or all the following actions.

  • You make an official complaint to the company.
  • You feel you have been miss-sold too or tricked and voice your opinion to friends and family.
  • You take to social media and review sites to vent your frustration.
  • You stop using the service all together in fear of higher bills.
  • At the end of their contract period, you fail to renew and move to a competitor.

[Side note: In recent years, mobile providers have learnt from their mistakes. The qualify customers better to ensure they are put on the best tariff for their usage no cost. They warn customers who are about to breach their usage limits. On request, they can also block you from going outside of anything not included in your tariff.]

Bill Shock in SaaS

With more and more SaaS businesses introducing some form of consumption model, Bill Shock can occur in an equivalent way to that of the mobile phone sector.

Let’s take an example of a mailing list provider, called company ‘x’. They use the consumption-based model detailed below.

Consumption-based pricing and bill shock

Dependant on how many subscribers the customer has to their mailing list, determines the amount they are billed by company ‘X’.

Company ‘Y’ has been using company ‘X’ for some time to manage their mailing list. They currently have 750 subscribers and have been paying £18.99 a month for the last 12 months. During these 12 months there have been some changes in staff within the marketing team. The new head of marketing knows they pay £18.99 a month but is unaware that there are limits on this.

Company ‘Y’ decides to run an incentive to increase their subscribers. A possibility of winning some free tickets to a football match for everyone who registers over a 4-week period. The campaignwas a tremendous success, and the company gains 25,300 subscribers through the campaign.

Company ‘X’ then sends a bill to company ‘Y’ for £299.99 instead of their usual £18.99. The company is hugely shocked by this. Although not a huge amount they feel angry of not being made aware that this could incur additional charges. The campaign is now over budget and marketing must explain why.

Marketing complains to company ‘X’ and decides to move to a different provider, who charges the same, but just because they feel angry with company ‘X’ and feel in some way cheated. Also, company ‘X’ did not warn them of the growing charges, or that they had breached their usage limits on the current payment band.

The customer has been lost to bill shock. The customer has also stressed their unhappiness on some review sites.

How to avoid bill shock with SaaS clients?

Bill shock is easily avoided if there is clear transparency of a client’s consumption against your pricing matrix. The customer should be reminded of their usage often, especially if it is likely to shortly increase their bill.

Dependant on your segmentation of customers, it can either be in a tech touch form, such as an email, or other notification. Alternatively, there can be a more personal interaction such as a Success Plan that estimates when the client is likely to increase their software consumption.

It is also important to remind the client, often, of the value they are getting out of your product. This is especially important when there have been employee changes within your client’s business. So, where there are bill increases, they will associate this as an increase in the value they are getting and not an increase in cost.

Allow your clients to see their current usage easily, in real-time where possible. If they are about to incur charges outside of the norm for them, notify them of this.

In the example of company ‘Y’ above. If company ‘X’ had made them aware of their usage, and its limits often. Company ‘Y’ would be most likely to still be growing its subscription list with company ‘Y’. Also, likely to become an advocate of theirs.

Key Note: A customer should never be shocked by the amount on their bill, either up, down or remaining constant. Full visibility is best, and visuals can be good for this. Such as a pie chart, around maximum allowed usage for the pricing bracket, and their current usage to date.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, so please leave some below.