In cyber security circles, the need for digital trust between IT providers and clients is driving the innovation of stronger data protection. In the B2B market, data is broadly referred to as “business data,” meaning all of the data a business maintains on its servers and accesses through third-party data storage and business apps it uses. For most entities, data falls into three categories: proprietary data, third-party data for business, and customer information.
A Digital Goldmine for Information Thieves
Customer information is the kind of business data that hackers prefer most. While high black-market value can be found for proprietary data, the data is typically sold to an unscrupulous business entity. This can delay a hacker’s reward, and it creates another party to the crime. Stealing customer data makes it easier for hackers to quickly profit and remain anonymous— two things that the average hacker always wants, as he pursues gain from stolen information.
Consequently, among stronger data protection measures that should arrive in the not so distant future, many measures figure to target customer information protection. However, to start building digital trust by better protecting the information of customers, businesses do not have to wait for the cyber security market to adopt new information protection standards.
There are several strategic measures that businesses can presently implement to enhance customer information protection and then make customers aware of the measures to help build digital trust. Below, we look at four information protection strategies that practically any business can use and communicate to customers to let them know that their information is well-protected against hackers, who would use it fraudulently for personal financial gain.
Customer Information: Building Digital Trust
Is your business doing all that it can to build digital trust with customers by strongly protecting their personal information from theft? Furthermore, do customers know about the measures you take to protect information? Below are four measures you can use to increase protection and communicate to customers to let them know that their sensitive information is protected.
1. Customer Information Is Stored Separately
Customers who aren’t familiar with business IT may be unclear about how your business stores their personal information. Moreover, they may assume that their information is stored within a massive database, which also includes other types of business information, such as data pertaining to sales and metrics for measuring the success of the sales process.
In reality, most businesses store customer information separately, using a protection strategy that deters hackers from access. If your business doesn’t do this, it should. Letting customers know that their private information is uniquely protected can help them build their digital trust in your organization and increase your chances of retaining them as a long-term source of business.
2. A Double Firewall Protects the Information
A network firewall provides the first layer of customer information protection. For hackers, acquiring information begins with penetrating an exterior firewall. But this isn’t the only way in which the information can become accessible. It can also be made accessible if an employee inadvertently sends sensitive information to an unsafe location outside of your IT network.
A firewall that has an interior wall, in addition to an exterior wall, can be configured to prevent information from being sent from within your network to unapproved locations outside of it. Do customers know the firewall halts information from reaching non-network locations? Apprising them of this fact can increase their digital trust in your capacity to safeguard their information.
3. Strong Encryption Guards the Information
Customers who aren’t familiar with data protection standards may assume that penetrating a firewall is all a hacker must do to access sensitive information. The fact that the information is strongly encrypted, which provides greater protection than the firewall itself offers, is a crucial aspect of customer information protection that often remains unconsidered or misunderstood.
Businesses can increase the digital trust they receive from customers by revealing two things about encrypted information: encryption is always active and decoding it by deciphering the encryption key is a nearly insurmountable task that most hackers won’t attempt. It may also be useful to reinforce that data encryption is not as easily circumvented as some TV shows and movies portray. Even supercomputers routinely fail to decipher complex encryption keys.
4. Hack Attempts and Hacker Success Differ
Another measure for increasing digital trust that customers place in your business is offering a simple explanation for hacking statistics. Specifically, clarify that statistics for attempted hacks are not equivalent to hacking attempts that succeed. When customers confuse the two, they can easily get the impression that their information simply isn’t safe in a business database.
For example, Microsoft Corporation’s cloud experiences roughly 1.5 million hack attempts each day. This sounds alarming, but the fact that the attempts seldom succeed is actually a compliment to Microsoft. If your business has never been successfully hacked, this could be worth pointing out. The more impenetrable to hackers your business’s IT network appears to be, the more trust customers are likely to place in the network to safeguard their information.
Contact NIC to Improve Your Protection
For many businesses, increasing digital trust with customers begins with three measures: implementing adequate IT strategies for customer information protection, letting the customer base know that the strategies are in place, and clearly communicating to customers that your strategies are consistently updated to reflect the latest, best-in-class information protection standards, as they become available from companies specializing in cyber security solutions.
If your business needs to improve digital trust with customers by enhancing the protection of their sensitive information, NIC offers cyber security solutions and a range of other crucial IT services that can help.
To learn more about available strategies, and how your business can leverage them for greatest effect, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.