Consumers need to understand the value of tier data and how to protect them. Source: Shutterstock

Consumers need to understand the value of tier data and how to protect them. Source: Shutterstock

Is cybersecurity alone sufficient to ensure data protection?

DATA protection has become more relevant in recent times. Companies such as Facebook and Google whose business models revolve around consumer data are now under heavy scrutiny.

This increased vigilance is mainly due to sweeping regulations around the world that aim to protect consumer data. The most significant among them is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Accordingly, businesses now have to balance between maximizing the benefit of data while adhering to the strict privacy policies. However, most companies are still appearing to be nonchalant in regards to protecting customer data.

One report indicated that companies committed close to 60,000 violations of the GDPR in the eight months of its inception.

And thus, to implement real change, businesses and consumers need to understand the value of data and how to protect it. Moreover, they need to realize cybersecurity alone is not enough to protect private data from falling in the wrong hands.

Proper education about data is paramount

Consumers, especially the younger generation, need to know why their information is valuable to companies. Then they need to figure out how to protect it. For example, knowing that they are technically paying for ‘free services’ through their data is a good first step.

Companies within the tech industry meanwhile are very well aware of the value of consumer data. After all, they have made a fortune monetizing data.

However, they must aim to train all their employees on data security policies to ensure they earn the trust and confidence of customers. This training may include the basics such as creating strong passwords and avoiding phishing scams.

Moreover, companies also need to deliver specialized training to specific employees based on their roles. One PWC survey attributed employees as the top source of a security breach.

End-to-end encryption is the answer

All forms of communication — messages, calls, images, and videos should be encrypted — without any participation from servers. This will add a layer of protection to consumer data.

So, encryption should be at the deployed by businesses as their data protection strategy while creating applications and services.

Having an added protective shield is all the more critical when services such as Facebook are integrated with its affiliate applications, such as Instagram and Whatsapp. Integrated apps may be more user-friendly, but users are more vulnerable to breaches and data thefts.

Enterprises should also prioritize implementing end-to-end encryption to their systems to bolster their security measures and policy.

And by working together with consumers to reduce data exposure to malicious parties, companies could also prevent potential future attacks.

Continuous improvement needed

The truth is, even if businesses are taking all the necessary precautions, the risk of a hack or data breach will always exist.

Thus, companies need to create security frameworks that continually improve and evolve to mitigate emerging risks that are more sophisticated. They need to always be on full alert anticipating attacks and updating their systems accordingly.

Beyond that, focusing their efforts on complying with the regulation will also be beneficial to organizations. That way, they can build consumer confidence and be more sure of their strategy in regards to security.

But most importantly, businesses and consumers should both understand the value of data and empower each other to protect them for mutual benefits.