3 Ways to Avoid Data Misuse with Online Forms

Written by Brianna Class on July 18, 2014

Posted in Form Hacks

Security threats can come from all sides: users submitting false information, employees accessing files they shouldn’t, and hackers trying to break in. Formstack offers heavy-duty security options to keep your form data secure. When you use online forms, you can secure your users’ data with the highest levels of protection.

Turn on security features to protect sensitive information
To increase your form security, enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). With Formstack’s 256-bit SSL, you can be confident that your forms have met the standard of security. This feature provides for the authentication and encryption of traffic between your browser and Internet servers. If you are collecting sensitive, identifying information including, but not limited to, social security or credit card numbers, you must enable SSL to protect your users.

If you choose to email sensitive information from a Formstack form, you will want to enable PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). PGP encryption is necessary if you send sensitive, identifying information by email. (You do not need to enable PGP if you are not sending collected data to any email recipients, or are only sending a link to the saved data.) If you need PGP, Formstack’s support page can walk you through the steps.

If your form collects sensitive information like social security or credit card numbers, then data encryption is required by Formstack’s Terms of Service. With data encryption, you can lock down personal data with serious security. In fact, data encryption is so secure that no one—including Formstack—can view the data you collect without the password. (So don’t forget it!)

Check your user permissions
If you have additional users on your account, double-check permissions to ensure that the right people have access to the data you intend. You can permit additional users to make changes to forms or templates, use and edit data, approve submissions, and more. If you have certain forms that are confidential or highly sensitive, verify that you know who on your team has access to which data. This Formstack support page explains the levels of permission and how to change them.

Require an electronic signature
You may need a little extra assurance that your users are who they say they are. In those cases, include an electronic signature field  on your form. With this field, you can capture a signature just like on a paper form. Users can sign with their mouse or a finger, and you have an additional layer of identification for your forms.

The steps outlined here only take a few seconds to a few minutes to enable. To protect your users—and yourself!—from nefarious types, log into your Formstack account and be sure you have tightened your security features.