The Dangers of Platform Integration

Platform integration is a fancy term for an everyday activity. All of us use a range of programs and apps to access the services we need on the internet – email, messaging, search, social, retail and so on. These apps are provided by different companies – Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook – each with their own set of policies and values. As consumers, this kind of mix-and-matching is generally the most convenient way to get the job done.

Businesses likewise will often choose to procure digital tools from a range of providers. For an individual service provider (such as a counsellor or a legal adviser) this might mean bolting together a range of free products like WhatsApp, Facebook and Gmail to cover the services you require; for larger businesses the system will likely be more complex, involving multiple subscription packages and perhaps even middleware to mediate between them.

From a data privacy perspective, platform integration raises a number of risks which need to be taken into account when designing a digital workflow. Here are some key points you need to consider:

  • Different programs and providers will have different privacy standards and policies. Have you read them all, and do they meet the privacy guarantee you are offering to your clients?
  • Sometimes, the providers of digital tools use third-party vendors to supply part of their service. Are you aware of these dependencies, and how they affect the privacy of you and your clients?
  • When data is moved between different software applications, there is always a risk that something important might be lost or exposed. Are you aware of these fault lines, and do you have a plan for managing them?
  • Can you map the path taken by your clients’ data as it passes through your system? Remember, this includes both data that you deliberately collect and store and data that is generated and collected by the providers of the tools you use. What are the key points of vulnerability, and how can you manage them?

If you aren’t able to provide clear answers to these questions, then you aren’t in a position to guarantee your clients’ privacy or to enter into agreements which require their informed consent regarding the use of their data.

We understand that this might sound like an intimidating task – but this is exactly why Kuva has developed a professional service to support organisations in designing privacy-first digital workflows. We can help you review the privacy policies you’re currently exposed to, map the flow of data through your system and design processes which allow you to deliver the highest possible standard of digital privacy for your staff, your clients and your partners

We will also provide software tools which allow you to operate online without exposing your clients’ confidential data. For instance, we offer video and text chat services with secure document transfer, products which we have designed to give you complete oversight over your data as it passes through the system. With the right tools and a holistic approach to privacy, it is perfectly possible to create an efficient, smooth digital workflow that simultaneously safeguards the private data of businesses and their clients.