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  • Beth Worthy

5 Practical Ways To Ensure Privacy With Transcription Services



Audio and video transcriptions are crucial in the academic, legal, market research and business sectors and are still in demand. Grand View Research estimates the value of the U.S. transcription market in 2019 at $19.8 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% over the next seven years. However, with rising cyber threats, the privacy of information shared via video or audio files remains a critical concern.


So before sharing audio files, the customer should check their transcription service provider's testimonials, previous experience and the data security measures they have in place. Here are five steps to help ensure your provider provides the security you need.


1. Sign a nondisclosure agreement.


An important way to ensure data security is by signing a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with your transcription service provider. An NDA should clearly spell out that the service provider is legally bound to keep your data secure. Also, it ensures that the privacy and security of your data are taken care of at every stage of the transcription process and that the service provider has full control over it. If they aren't willing to sign it, that's a red flag, and you shouldn't continue with this business relationship.


2. Choose a trustworthy company with a stellar online reputation.


As in other industries, doing a full background check is very important when you sign up with a new transcription company. Online reviews and reputation can play a crucial role in this. You should go through as many reviews as possible on various sites—such as TrustPilot, Better Business Bureau, Capterra, Google Business Profile, Yelp and Facebook—and look for details regarding their privacy practices. Descriptive and honest reviews from their existing clients can help you understand their service quality and make an informed decision.


3. Inspect your provider's website data encryption tools.


Check the transcription service provider's website URL and login portal before assigning them your video or audio files. You are good to go if the URL starts with "HTTPS—the "S" shows that it is encrypted with Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security. SSL/TLS encrypts the connection between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transmitted between them remains private and secure. A padlock icon or sign in the address bar of any webpage confirms the use of this data security protocol.



The primary motives of HTTPS are website authentication and the protection of the privacy and integrity of data sent while in transit. It encrypts bidirectional communications between a client and a server by preventing third parties from eavesdropping or tampering. Therefore, when you upload your audio or video files to their website, they will remain safe from cybercriminals.


4. Understand who is handling your audio or video transcription project.


Once your files are with the vendor, knowing who handles your transcription work is essential. Ensure that your audio or video transcription files are not being shared with offshore workers, as this may compromise the security of your files. You may find that these workers are beyond U.S. jurisdiction and so pursuing breaches would be challenging. In America, using U.S.-based transcriptionists helps you keep tabs on their work and legally enforce data security and confidentiality.


5. Check for compliance with GDPR or similar regulations.


Companies working in the EU are obligated to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It requires a business handling client data to take responsibility for data security and employ sufficient data handling measures to protect it. Therefore, you must check if the data protection measures of your transcription service provider are in line with GDPR or a U.S. equivalent such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The provider's compliance shows their dedication to secure data and transcription services. Also, the transcription service provider will face fines or other actions if your data security is compromised, so they will make every effort to protect your data completely.


In short, if the transcription service provider doesn't have an NDA, there are no data encryption tools on the website, they do not comply with GDPR rules or they do allocate transcription work to offshore freelancers and employees without adequate compliance, then your data is at risk of being misused by cybercriminals. Whether you need a video or audio transcription, check these five factors with the vendor before handing over your recordings so you can have complete confidence in the vendor's data security and confidentiality practices and procedures.


Remember, your transcription data can contain sensitive and personal information and needs to stay confidential to protect your and your customer's interests. Get your team to work smartly and find a transcription service provider who can ensure the highest data security and privacy possible.

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