A business that is able to reach its customers and deliver its services on time has more potential to succeed than the one that has difficulties reaching the customers. Communication is a major component in defining the success of every business, and it is important that organizations are able to effectively communicate with the customers, creditors, and employees. Effective communication is based on an enterprises’ effort to embrace new technology in communication and business transactions. Electronic commerce, for example, is a modern way of doing business where goods and services are exchanged online. The transmission of data or funds is also done over the internet. It is a very efficient method of doing business, especially where the clients are geographically distributed. The e-commerce ensures that business services are available to the clients at all times (Antoniou, Giannakis, and Lynn 422). The business transactions in the business should also be authenticated. The challenge faced by businesses that use e-commerce mainly stems from the mistrust of the clients in providing the required personal information. It is, therefore, important that a business find ways to ensure that the customers are able to use the system without compromising their privacy. In light of the importance of e-commerce in business, this research aims at defining the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in ensuring privacy.
One of the variables that dictate whether a business gets a big profit margin or a loss is the degree of efficiency in its operation. Businesses that use e-commerce are efficient enough to cut most of their operational costs thus reaping maximum benefits. The challenge with the e-commerce is ensuring that the system is safe from external access. The competitors may out do the business in cases where they access data from the online business sources thus, it is crucial to ensure the privacy of the data. Some of the applications used in the e-commerce include emails, File Transfer Protocol, Electronic Data Interchange and web services. If an external party accesses any of these applications, the business may incur huge losses to an extent of closing down the business. In order to ensure that the electronic system in a company is safe, the business must ensure limited access to resources such as the company websites, emails by requiring only the selected registered users to access the applications. The business should also encrypt communications and ensure the implementation Secure Sockets Layer and other security technologies.
As much as e-commerce has made accessibility of goods and services easier for the clients, at times the transactions are not easy. For a client to make a purchase they may be required to provide the business with personal information and at times the clients do not trust the sellers. The customers fear that their private information may be accessed by the wrong persons and endanger their private lives. The reduction of purchaser information required by the seller in online websites has been known to increase the number of business transactions carried out. The insecurity of the clients in giving their personal information stems from the fact that an attacker may access the transition of payment information and steal from them. This may happen either before or after the transaction thus the need for the companies to ensure the privacy of any information that is their system. The purchaser feels that at times the seller may also give their information to other parties or overcharge them. The technology used in e-commerce is not an issue, but the way it is applied determines whether a business makes profits or losses. A business where the customers lack confidence in the system is bound to fail.
Personalization technologies are a major tool that some businesses use to reach their clients by posting adverts to a client’s friends as accessed through social media (Toch, Wang, and Lorrie 204). This poses risks to the client’s information, and it may make them feel that their personal information is unsafe. This poses potential risks to the clients through behavioral profiling, social-based and location-based personalization. MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social network systems have made it easy for people to access personal information about others online. Instant personalization that allows the companies to access a client’s information once they visit their sites does not allow the privacy of the customers. The application programming interfaces developed in the large social network systems such as Facebook allow third parties to access users’ profiles, and they can post their adverts or other information to the user and their friends too. This exposes the user’s privacy and also their friend’s and the information may be misused. The behavioral data profiling is another threat to the privacy of one’s personal information online (Toch, Wang, and Lorrie 207). The profiling involves the collection of the user’s longitudinal data and using it to track the behavior of the users without their consent. The risk has been on the rise in the recent years where it is common in internet advertising, sent emails, e-commerce and Web search.
In order to ensure that e-commerce is run effectively, there is a need to take measure to reduce the potential risks. Pseudonymous personalization, for instance, is an effective method that is used to personalize online services without revealing the true identity of the user (Toch, Wang, and Lorrie 210). The user can have different pseudonyms so that they are able to separate their online activities. The method is safe because the attackers cannot trace the identity of the users thus cannot access their personal information. Another method that is used to mitigate the risks is the client-side personalization. Here, the client’s personal information and data are processed on the client side thus giving a sense of control of their personal information. There are companies and individuals involved in selling personal data of potential customers to companies, and their gains depend on the number of users they are able to reach. The companies benefit by reducing the cost of advertising for their products, search costs and are able to conduct a risk analysis (Spiekermann et al 200).
In conclusion, a business cannot exist without customers; therefore, the factors that affect the attractiveness’ of a business venture to the customers should be prioritized. The mistrust between the sellers and purchasers in online transactions is especially a factor that the businesses must consider so as to succeed in e-commerce (Antoniou, Giannakis, and Lynn 423). Some of the factors that have made it difficult for the companies to ensure privacy in e-commerce include the use of programming interfaces that allow third parties to user information without their consent. There are various measures that a business can use to overcome these challenges such as the use of pseudonymous personalization and the client-side personalization methods so as to build trust with the clients and increase the sales volume.
Antoniou, Giannakis, and Lynn Batten. “E-commerce: protecting purchaser privacy to enforce trust.” Springer (2011).
Spiekermann, Sarah, Alessandro Acquisti, Rainer and Kai-Lung Hui. “The challenges of personal data markets and privacy.” (2015).
Toch, Eran, Yang Wang, and Lorrie Faith Cranor. “Personalization and privacy: a survey of privacy risks and remedies in personalization-based systems.” (2012).