Why Sending KPIs and Customer Data to Third Parties Might Be a Bad Idea
Here’s the question – if a stranger asked how much revenue did your business make yesterday, would you tell them? If a stranger said ‘can you give me your customer list’ would you?
I recently read a blog article for the “23 Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business” https://www.pcmag.com/article/351544/23-must-have-alexa-skills-for-your-small-business to see what I could/should be doing with Alexa that I’m not already doing.
One solution that caught my eye enabled sending your KPI information to Alexa so you could get a business briefing. This was a useful function, so I dug in a little further to see how it worked.
The first thing that I learned was that this specific company was not a free Alexa skill, but integrated with their platform which was a paid service for $29/month. It was a free trial disguised as a free service. Ok, I get that a guy needs to eat (to me, the price point is high for the value it provides and the SMB gets killed $10, $20, and $30 at a time every month) but if it gives you $29 of value, fine.
Here’s the interesting thing. This data isn’t personal. They can sell it, share it, give it away, even post it publicly if they wish.
According to this Medium article (I’m not a lawyer) When B2 Data is Personal Data and What That Means With the GDPR https://medium.com/@digital_compliance/when-b2b-data-is-personal-data-and-what-that-means-with-the-gdpr-d4223ea74e09:
- Sole traders and partners = treat as personal data
- Personal business data (e.g. an individual’s email address) = personal data but you can market relevant services, but provide an opt-out
- Generic business data = you can market, but provide an opt-out
So, ask yourself before you send your data somewhere that you don’t control:
- Can this data be sold?
- If this data were hacked, could it hurt my business?
- Could the company who is hosting my data use my data for their own purposes?
If so, you may want to think twice when you don’t control the database.