Data Protection

Data Protection

Community Benchmark is committed to the robust data privacy and security protections.  

Privacy By Design

We take great care to design our product with privacy in mind.  We never distribute individual winery results – even if the individual result is anonymized.  For example we would not say “A winery in Napa achieved $45,000 in sales last month.” We only distribute Aggregated Information from a group of at least four wineries.  We also do not store personally identifiable information of your customers or credit card information. For a full overview of our data privacy policies, please see our Privacy Policy

Accessing, downloading, and transferring your data

We protect your information from unauthorized dissemination, using an even greater degree of care which we ordinarily uses with respect to our own Corporate Information.  

Managing our third party service providers.

Community Benchmark directly conducts the majority of data processing activities required to provide our benchmarking services to you. However, we do engage some third party service providers to assist in supporting these services, including in the following areas:

  • Member Support
  • Cloud storage
  • Payment Processing
  • Data Scientists & Consultants

Our rigorous selection process ensures each third party service provider complies with our Privacy Policy and we execute a legally binding agreement with each third party service provider.


The Open Web Application Security Project, or OWASP, is an international non-profit organization dedicated to web application security.  The OWASP Top 10 is a regularly-updated report outlining security concerns for web application security, focusing on the 10 most critical risks. The report is put together by a team of security experts from all over the world. OWASP refers to the Top 10 as an ‘awareness document’ and they recommend that all companies incorporate the report into their processes in order to minimize and/or mitigate security risks.

Below are the security risks reported in the OWASP Top 10 report and how Community Benchmark protects against each.

1. Injection

Injection attacks happen when untrusted data is sent to a code interpreter through a form input or some other data submission to a web application. For example, an attacker could enter SQL database code into a form that expects a plain text username. If that form input is not properly secured, this would result in that SQL code being executed. This is known as an SQL injection attack.

Injection attacks can be prevented by validating and/or sanitizing user-submitted data. (Validation means rejecting suspicious-looking data, while sanitization refers to cleaning up the suspicious-looking parts of the data.) In addition, a database admin can set controls to minimize the amount of information an injection attack can expose.

Community Benchmark’s application layer sanitizes all user input and ensures that every database query is safe from these attacks. This process happens automatically, meaning there is no place where data is not sanitized due to a mistake.

2. Broken Authentication

Vulnerabilities in authentication (login) systems can give attackers access to user accounts and even the ability to compromise an entire system using an admin account. For example, an attacker can take a list containing thousands of known username/password combinations obtained during a data breach and use a script to try all those combinations on a login system to see if there are any that work.

Some strategies to mitigate authentication vulnerabilities are requiring 2-factor authentication (2FA) as well as limiting or delaying repeated login attempts using rate limiting.

Community Benchmark uses advanced password encryption algorithms that have brute-force attack prevention built in.

3. Sensitive Data Exposure

If web applications don’t protect sensitive data such as financial information and passwords, attackers can gain access to that data and sellor utilize it for nefarious purposes. One popular method for stealing sensitive information is using a man-in-the-middle attack.

Data exposure risk can be minimized by encrypting all sensitive data as well as disabling the caching* of any sensitive information. Additionally, web application developers should take care to ensure that they are not unnecessarily storing any sensitive data.

*Caching is the practice of temporarily storing data for re-use. For example, web browsers will often cache web pages so that if a user revisits thosepages within a fixed time span, the browser does not have to fetch the pages from the web.

Community Benchmark limits what sensitive data we store (e.g. we don’t store financial data like credit card #s, personally identifiable information, your customer information, etc) and the sensitive data we do store (password) are encrypted. All data we store is always encrypted in transit.

4. XML External Entities (XEE)

This is an attack against a web application that parses XML* input. This input can reference an external entity, attempting to exploit a vulnerability in the parser. An ‘external entity’ in this context refers to a storage unit, such as a hard drive. An XML parser can be duped into sending data to an unauthorized external entity, which can pass sensitive data directly to an attacker.

The best ways to prevent XEE attacks are to have web applications accept a less complex type of data, such as JSON**.  Community Benchmark never takes XML as input and only takes input in JSON format.

*XML or Extensible Markup Language is a markup language intended to be both human-readable and machine-readable. Due to its complexity and security vulnerabilities, it is now being phased out of use in many web applications.

5. Broken Access Control

Access control refers to a system that controls access to information or functionality. Broken access controls allow attackers to bypass authorization and perform tasks as though they were privileged users such as administrators. For example a web application could allow a user to change which account they are logged in as simply by changing part of a url, without any other verification.

Access controls can be secured by ensuring that a web application uses authorization tokens* and sets tight controls on them.

The Community Benchmark application layer has a built in industry standard user access system which utilizes authorization tokens and has tight controls over permissions.

6. Security Misconfiguration

Security misconfiguration is the most common vulnerability on the list, and is often the result of using default configurations or displaying excessively verbose errors. For instance, an application could show a user overly-descriptive errors which may reveal vulnerabilities in the application. This can be mitigated by removing any unused features in the code and ensuring that error messages are more general.

Our error reporting system sends errors via encrypted transit to our staff for diagnosis. No error information is shown to users in our production systems.

7. Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities occur when web applications allow users to add custom code into a url path or onto a website that will be seen by other users. This vulnerability can be exploited to run malicious JavaScript code on a victim’s browser. For example, an attacker could send an email to a victim that appears to be from a trusted bank, with a link to that bank’s website. This link could have some malicious JavaScript code tagged onto the end of the url. If the bank’s site is not properly protected against cross-site scripting, then that malicious code will be run in the victim’s web browser when they click on the link.

Mitigation strategies for cross-site scripting include escaping untrusted HTTP requests as well as validating and/or sanitizing user-generated content. Using modern web development frameworks like ReactJS and Ruby on Rails also provides some built-in cross-site scripting protection.  Community Benchmark uses React and Django which both have XSS protection built in.  All user entered data is sanitized when displayed to prevent XSS (cross-site scripting) attacks from occurring.

8. Insecure Deserialization

This threat targets the many web applications which frequently serialize and deserialize data. Serialization means taking objects from the application code and converting them into a format that can be used for another purpose, such as storing the data to disk or streaming it. Deserialization is just the opposite: converting serialized data back into objects the application can use. Serialization is sort of like packing furniture away into boxes before a move, and deserialization is like unpacking the boxes and assembling the furniture after the move. An insecure deserialization attack is like having the movers tamper with the contents of the boxes before they are unpacked.

An insecure deserialization exploit is the result of deserializing data from untrusted sources, and can result in serious consequences like DDoS attacks and remote code execution attacks. While steps can be taken to try and catch attackers, such as monitoring deserialization and implementing type checks, the only sure way to protect against insecure deserialization attacks is to prohibit the deserialization of data from untrusted sources.

Community Benchmark only uses secure, industry standard serialization formats for any data coming from the user.

9. Using Components With Known Vulnerabilities

Many modern web developers use components such as libraries and frameworks in their web applications. These components are pieces of software that help developers avoid redundant work and provide needed functionality; common examples include front-end frameworks like React and smaller libraries that used to add share icons or a/b testing. Some attackers look for vulnerabilities in these components which they can then use to orchestrate attacks. Some of the more popular components are used on hundreds of thousands of websites; an attacker finding a security hole in one of these components could leave hundreds of thousands of sites vulnerable to exploit.

Community Benchmark enforces commercially reasonable effort to always have the latest patched or most-recent versions of components running on our applications. To minimize the risk of running components with known vulnerabilities, we remove unused components, as well as ensuring that we are receiving components from a trusted source and ensuring they are up to date.

10. Insufficient Logging And Monitoring

Community Benchmark has implemented a logging and monitoring process to ensure that we are made aware of attacks on our applications.