Measures to Protect Customer Data

A business can’t get far without customer trust. One of the quickest ways to breach that trust is to lose control of your customers’ data and critical information. The personal information of consumers is the new oil of the digital world. Even though the businesses that collect and process consumer data have become increasingly valuable and powerful, recent events prove that even the world’s biggest brands are vulnerable when they violate their customers’ trust.  Frequently, we hear about a critical security breach. It’s alarming enough when hackers gain access to personal information, but it’s even worse when they get a hold of payment information like bank account and credit card numbers. Hackers can do immeasurable damage to customers’ finances before the companies even realize that there’s been a problem. “According to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of all companies that lose access to their data center for 10 days or more ultimately go bankrupt within one year.”

Mostly the consumers  know that businesses use their information to deliver more personalized products and services and are accepting this practice as long as it makes their lives a little easier (local weather and traffic alerts, song recommendations on spotify, etc.). However, this agreement quickly breaks down when trust is compromised.

Without the proper measures to safeguard customer data, things can go otherwise quickly. The business will face every possible crisis scenario such as losing billions in market value, damaging brand reputation, etc. if it does not pay due diligence to protect its customers’ information.

In order to protect customer data, the organisations are taking following measures:

Taking proactive approach to data protection: Most organisations conduct a data sweep to analyse what kind of data the business has collected and how sensitive it is. The business makes sure that it is updated and compliant with existing laws and regulations that concerns data security. Although compliance does not automatically equate to safety, but it helps to keep businesses safe in this increasingly digital landscape.

Encrypting data: Encrypting means converting information or data into a code in order to prevent unauthorized access. The organisations are trying that every device which is used to conduct business has data encryption. Encrypting is another layer of security that would be helpful if a device is stolen. With encryption, it would be difficult for a hacker to understand any data if they do not have the company’s login details.

Installing robust malware protection: Hackers would always be on the lookout for security weaknesses. As such, the companies make sure each company device has antivirus, firewall, spam filters, and anti-malware software installed. The programs are updated every time a new patch is delivered.

Limiting the use of portable devices: Connecting USBs and portable hard drives pose another level of threat to data, especially if these are used with different devices. Most organisations create guidelines for usage of portable devices, as this could spread viruses and malware from one computer to another.

Know who they’re doing business with: In a competitive business environment, the company is always going to be enticed when a new vendor offers a solution that promises to cut the costs in half, improve customer experience or provide new insights. But the businesses often do a background check, ask for referrals and, and even audit their physical office location before accepting the offer of the new vendor.

The data which is lost can be recovered but customers’ trust, once lost, can’t be rebuilt. Losing data not only compromises the trust of the customers but also hampers the image and goodwill of the company in the market. As it is a well-known saying that “prevention is better than cure”, the company should always take preventive measures in order to avoid all the possibilities of data loss. Paying due diligence will not only help in protecting the data, it might just save the brand one day.