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Google Plus Security Breach and Shut Down – What Does it Mean for Small Businesses?

“Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google Plus. The service will be suspended over the next 10 months”.

Google Plus, launched in 2011, is projected to shut down due to a security bug. The action was taken by the company when the confidential information of approximately half a million users was leaked. According to the search engine giant, they didn’t find any evidence of the misuse of the profile data of affected accounts.

Google didn’t disclose the security breach when it was found back in the March of 2018. According to the Privacy and Data Protection Office, they decided not to disclose any information about the incident, as it didn’t show that anyone had gained access to users’ personal information. In addition, they dreaded it would attract regulatory scrutiny and tarnish the company’s image.

Google Plus is currently experiencing low usage and engagement and failed to achieve broad consumer and developer adoption. According to Google, more than 90% of Google Plus user sessions last than five seconds which is alarming.

This security breach and demise of Google Plus is leaving a significant impact on businesses and the way they are using data. In response to the data breach news, Google has announced Project Strobe which is intended to enhance user security by limiting or preventing third-party developers from accessing users’ data, call logs and contact information. It is expected that other social media networks may place more proactive strict limits on third-party developers.

The search engine giant is focusing on launching a secure corporate social network and planning to keep the service active for enterprise customers who use this channel to facilitate conversation among coworkers. The company is thinking to add new features to the corporate version.

Steps Small Business Owners Should Take

If you are a digital marketing agency, real estate business, restaurant and using Google Plus for marketing purposes, then you surely take some important steps immediately.

It is advised to create a plan to remove Google Plus follow buttons from your website and blog. In addition, stop doing any social activity on Google Plus such as sharing content and commenting.

If you are running a community on Google Plus for sharing information and promoting your products and services, it is advised to put your efforts and energy into different platforms. Create a new group on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platforms.

Inform your community members about the transition so they can read your content without any inconvenience. In addition, if you have developed a proprietary software that works with Google data, it is advised to become familiar with the new application programming interface. It is worthwhile to get familiar with Google’s new API and data sharing policies. Start experimenting on other social networks to find an alternative platform for promoting your content.

The search engine giant is paying more attention to privacy and security. It is the right time to check your privacy and security settings in all your Google apps, including your Gmail, Google account and more. You can use Google’s Security Checkup Tool to check the security of your Google accounts. G suite administrators are advised to check the security of the organization by using G Suite security.

Google Demise – Why Does it Matter for Brands?

If your business hasn’t implemented the permission-based marketing approach yet, reaching your prospective customers will become more difficult because of stringent data policies such as GDPR that require permission prior to making contact. However, if that is not the case and your business has fully embraced the core principles of inbound marketing and developed a database for users that have opted in, there is nothing to be afraid of.

Today’s users are more tech-savvy and increasingly more skeptical about providing their personal data on websites. If users don’t trust your website or aren’t completely convinced of the value they will get from dispensing with their information, chances are they will move to your competitors’ website to fulfill their needs.

The Bottom Line

Believe it or not, the most valuable currency for any business is the trust of their customers. If you lose that, no matter if you are a search engine company or social media giant, people won’t bother to use your products or services.

Now is the right time, businesses need to take serious steps to ensure their websites are completely secured and ask personal information they need. With the increasing number of data breach cases of even established brands such as Google and Facebook, it is expected that online data policies are going to be stricter. It is advised to ensure the data you collect is secured and inform users what you plan to do with their personal data. In addition, regularly up-to-date them with the latest policies related to your websites security and online privacy.



Macy Lambert

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