One of the key areas that has received a lot of attention over the last few years within organizations is data protection. And it’s easy to see why when you look at the statistics. Data fraud is one of the biggest threats to organizations as well as individuals globally.
In fact, billions of dollars are lost each year as a result of data fraud and customer data breaches. The numbers are startling. In 2020, 47% of Americans experienced financial identity theft, with approximately $712.4 billion being stolen, a significant increase from 2019. While companies strive to keep one step ahead of hackers, the reality is that data fraud evolves incredibly quickly.
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However, there are ways and means for you to stay ahead of online criminals. We thought we would unpack several practices that companies are currently implementing to avoid customer data fraud. Let’s take a look.
Create a Data Governance Strategy
The first thing for you to look at is to implement a data governance strategy. There are a number of global standards and regulations regarding data protection that you will need to comply with. Although this sounds like a long, complicated process, you will find that while you are implementing these to comply, you will be also strengthening your data protection boundaries.
Although they can be resource-intensive to roll out, there are some really helpful compliance automation software solutions for you to use. They allow you to automatically create a full coverage compliance checklist, streamline system integrations, conduct regular security audits, and heighten your security monitoring.
Compliance with various global standards, and local regulations can seem daunting. But once you start working through the various standards and requirements, you can automate them and move on to the next process. Having an automation partner on board takes a lot of work out of it and ensures that it is done properly from the start.
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Rethink Your Customer Data Strategy
Now is the time to take a step back and look at what data you are collecting, and why. What information are you requesting from your clients? What are you doing with it and how are you storing and managing it?
In the past, companies used to collect as much information as they could, while using maybe half of it. The problem is, that this gives hackers more information to steal. If not carefully managed, you are giving hackers everything they need to know about your clients.
So, you need to step back and ask yourself the vital questions:
- Who needs this data in my company?
- Why do they need it and what does it do?
- Could we continue to operate in the same way if we didn’t gather it?
Once you have asked these questions, you can go back and revisit what you are asking from your clients to ensure that you are only collecting the most vital information that you can actually use.
Define Who Gets Access to What Information
When creating your data governance strategy, it is important to define who has access to what information. Your entire workforce shouldn’t have access to all of your clients’ personal information. In fact, there should be a data governance officer who oversees who has access, and how much access they have.
Look at it this way. Your sales team, for example, will need basic contact information for qualified leads to be in contact with. However, it is mostly your marketing team who will have more information about their feedback and customer journey experience to heighten the experience for them.
Move as Much Information to the Cloud as Possible
Data protection is all about the safe collection, management, storage and destruction of vital customer information and data. So, where is it being kept in your company? Cloud services have been proving to be more reliable and safer for companies globally.
Cloud allows for enhanced disaster recovery, so if you have been affected, you can easily return to business as usual, unlike that of physical systems. Encryption is also vastly more sophisticated, and many cloud computing services offer the ability to encrypt certain files and information. Cloud also allows you to streamline accessibility and make the overall system more stable.
Lastly, you are also able to easily decide how information is stored on the cloud. You are easily able to divide up various information, store it and be able to access it differently.
Data fraud is not going anywhere anytime soon. In order to establish a sense of trust with your clients, you will need to ensure that their data is being carefully collected and stored in your company. With the right partners and policies in place, you can make sure that they are put at ease.