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Protect Clients Data – Tips For Web Designers 

Web designers used to just have to focus on form and function – on making the website as visually stunning and user-friendly as possible. But that’s not the case anymore. While web designers are in more demand than ever, their jobs are also more complicated now. The internet has developed to the point where it’s so much a part of everyone’s lives that security has become a major concern. Not just from criminal organizations and individual hackers but also from a privacy perspective. Security has become a crucial part of a web designer’s bag of tools, and it’s something that has to be taken into consideration. For their client or employer as well as for the end-user visiting the site. Here’s a quick look at how web designers can make security a priority in their planning and execution to protect clients’ data.

Protect Clients Data - Tips For Web Designers 

Why Even Bother? Isn’t ‘Protect Clients Data’ the Developer’s Job?

Yes, security often mainly falls on the shoulders of the developer and web host. But developers usually aren’t a one-person show (unless they’re designing too) and have to work in sync with designers. That means security should make it into the conversation as a focus point. Otherwise, disaster could ensue. 

Never assume that the other person has made all the necessary considerations and call it a day. That’s clearly what happened in the case of Hertz and Accenture. The rental car brand sued the marketing company for faulty web design work due to security concerns. According to the filing, the company was dissatisfied with the front-end development Accenture delivered, which “created serious security vulnerabilities and performance problems”. 

If a client’s site is hacked or experiences any security failure, the first people they’re going to look at is the web design team. This is especially true for freelancers as they don’t have the safety net of a company to fall back on, but will be held personally responsible.

Protect Clients Data – What Web Designers and Developers Should Consider

Work Together to Incorporate Security

Traditionally, web designers and developers didn’t have to work closely together as they focused on different things. The designer handled the front-end design, and the developer concentrated their efforts on the back-end. Some collaboration was still necessary, but for the most part, they could work independently. That’s not so true today.

Web designers and developers have to collaborate to properly integrate their two roles and various responsibilities. Sometimes these even overlap, or there’s some ambiguity as to who handles what depending on how the work is delegated. 

Security should always be one of the main talking points, and this should be evident in every step of the development process. The discussion should include what data to collect, how that data will be collected and stored, and how users will be protected. Through collaboration, the team will be able to juggle visuals, function, personalization, security, the company’s goals, and the user’s needs in the best way possible.

Integrate Legal Compliance Into the Design

Both the GDPR and CCPA recently came into effect and changed things for web designers practically overnight. New regulations will continue to implement down the line too, which will undoubtedly change things again.

Web designers and developers need to consider these legal implications. That means complying with the provisions made in regulatory acts and putting the end-users’ privacy and security first. For example, the GDPR requires that designers and developers follow the rule of Privacy by Design or Privacy by Default. This encompasses GDPR compliant notices and the right to consent, user authentication and anonymization, and encryption of the data users freely give up.

But measures like the GDPR don’t just protect the user. It also ensures that web designers and their employers or clients are protected against lawsuits – if they’re compliant. On top of that, it helps build trust with the end-user as this shows that the company makes their privacy a priority. 

Take Care With Front-End Security

Usually, the front end falls squarely into the domain of the web designer. The result is that any vulnerabilities or successful exploits via the front end will be the designer’s problem. Attackers aren’t focusing solely on the back end anymore and haven’t for quite some time. 

They are taking advantage of the security vulnerabilities inherent in the microservices and web applications that designers and developers use. On the front end, this means commonly-used APIs, HTML5, and cookies among other things. Designers must take these vulnerabilities into account when they’re working on the front end to ensure they adapt accordingly. 

Privacy Over Personalization

Website personalization has been all the rage this last decade. Every web designer knows that, in order to push their client’s audience further down the sales funnel, they have to make personalization a priority. But personalization also comes at the cost of privacy – as it requires a nearly invasive level of data gathering. The type of data a website needs to gather can vary depending on its purpose. However, this needs to be carefully considered. Weigh the benefit of that data against the cost of protecting it and the cost to the user should their data be stolen. While providing a tailored experience is still a top concern – always put privacy first.

Don’t just think of privacy in terms of data gathering either, but also how data is handled and the overall security of the system. Web designers who take privacy seriously need to have the proper precautions in place, and this includes securing their own devices and network. Using a VPN for security and privacy reasons is always highly recommended. It is essential to ensure that all data stays safe, especially for designers and developers who work remotely. Using strong email encryption and hard drive encryption tools should also be a top security priority.

Protect Clients Data – Final Thoughts

A web designer’s list of responsibilities has grown immensely compared to just 10 years ago, thanks to how complicated the internet has become. Therefore web designers must arm themselves with expertise that doesn’t traditionally fall within their field, like cybersecurity. Web designers who are security conscious are highly sought-after in today’s world as the dreaded threat of data breaches fuel the market for cyber security-minded professionals.

Zoey Peregrine
Zoey is a skillful content manager and SEO copywriter. She is interested in digital marketing and also writes informative articles on web development. In her free time, she prefers reading and taking part in quests.
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