For many, the thought of cookies brings back fond memories of Nestle Toll House chocolate chips and tall glasses of milk, but in the world of online privacy, the consequences of cookies are greater than extra mile on your morning run – they can have a much more diabolical meaning. A cookie, also known as a web cookie, browser cookie, and HTTP cookie, is a piece of text stored on a user’s computer by their web browser. A cookie can be used for authentication, storing site preferences, shopping cart contents, the identifier for a server-based session, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data.
Most modern browsers allow users to decide whether to accept cookies and the time frame to keep them, but rejecting cookies also makes some web sites unusable. It’s important to understand the tradeoff that you are making when you “accept” the default settings for any website or even your web browser. Browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 have introduced new privacy protections to allow you to limit information the browser provides to the websites that you visit. These enhancements, sometimes referred to as “do not track” features, represent an important advancement in privacy protection for consumers. However these features have to be reviewed and then selected by each computer user. They may not be selected for you by default (unless you are using certain browsers like Internet Explorer 9). Regardless, you should always check for yourself!
In the same way that you protect your identification and credit cards by securing them in your wallet or purse and keeping them properly protected, remember to take the same care with your identification and financial information online. Don’t choose to have websites “remember you” unless you are fully confident in their privacy and security practices. Do select to use the most protective settings in your web browser of choice. While you may have to fill out online forms more than once – and you won’t have that “special item” suggested and waiting for you when you return to the online shops you frequent – just think what you may find when you look across everything available instead of what someone else chose for you. In general, being in control of your privacy is always better.
For consumers and organizations alike, AvePoint provides Compliance Detector, which allows you to “check” the web sites you visit before you share your information with them to be sure that they are properly protecting your personal information. Compliance Detector is a free, educational, and non-commercial solution powered by AvePoint Compliance Guardian. Visit www.compliancedetector.com and try it out for yourself today!
Compliance Guardian is an enterprise compliance management solution that allows enterprise organizations to scan, audit, and report on data within their enterprise file systems, websites, web systems, web applications, and Microsoft SharePoint deployments. Compliance Guardian can not only assess Office files, HTML files, and PDFs to ensure branding compliance as well as protect against privacy (PII/PHI) or accessibility (Section 508) violations, but also can evaluate Images, AutoCAD files, Zip files, and hundreds of file types for privacy and information security issues. Compliance Guardian provides continuous scheduled and real-time monitoring of your web systems to identify non-compliant data across a broad framework of organization-specific or regulatory requirements, including Personally Identifiable Information, Information Assurance, Operations Security, Sensitive Security Information, Accessibility, Brand Management and Site Quality.
So if you are looking to ensure that your organization’s website and web systems are complying with privacy requirements and secure collection practices for personal and sensitive data, appropriate use of tracking technologies, as well as proper use and implementation of your Privacy Statements, be sure to contact AvePoint to learn more about Compliance Guardian.