If you believe a recent study by Walker, customer experiences and satisfaction will usurp price and product quality as the primary differentiator between brands by the turn of the next decade. In short, if your prices are rock-bottom and your products are top-notch, that will count for nothing if you don’t provide adequate levels of customer care.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the security risks against them, both online and offline. This presents a tricky test for organizations that are keen to improve their customer experience whilst respecting the need for customer privacy and protection. The security challenges posed to online retailers are particularly problematic. That’s because the success of most e-commerce websites is founded upon big data about their customers. It helps them to deliver a more personal shopping experience online that keeps users happy. However, the most data-driven insights an organization has about their customers, the greater responsibility it has to look after said data.
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You only have to look at the recent Marriott Starwood data breach to discover just what mayhem can ensue when an organisation driven by big data on customers is compromised. The records of more than 500 million visitors to hotels within the Marriott International group are said to have been compromised in a hack described as one of the largest data breaches in history. The global hotel chain recently admitted that cyber-criminals have been getting their hands on its guest reservations database since 2014.
The company confirmed it had received an alert via an “internal security tool” in early September, highlighting an attempt from an “unauthorized party” to gain access to the Marriott Starwood reservation database of US-based customers. Following deeper investigation, it was found that these hackers had managed to obtain long-term unauthorized access to databases across the Marriott Starwood network. Not only has this left the brand in hot water with its guests, it has also been placed under investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK.
Recently, Uber was fined £385,000 for allowing cyber-criminals to steal personal data on 2.7 million UK customers in 2016. Telephone numbers, full names and home addresses were stolen by hackers in the attack due to what the UK’s ICO labelled “avoidable data security flaws”. Not only was breach costly to Uber, it also placed its customers on red-alert as those whose data had been stolen were at greater risk of being a victim of fraud.
Businesses can not longer view personal data and as an afterthought. Data security protects your customers from ransomware, theft and extortion, safeguarding your brand’s reputation and maintaining the trust of your customers in the process. If your business handles significant volumes of customer data, investing in a solution that can monitor all data activity and immediately highlight database vulnerabilities is worth its weight in gold.
Develop a security strategy to deal with data from multichannel customers will be far more cost-effective than attempting to patch up tired, legacy infrastructure that’s no longer fit for purpose. In these uncertain times online, increased focus on data security can customers feel safe doing business with you.