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Translating data security into business revenue

Moonpig, the greetings card website with the catchy advert jingle, had to shut down its mobile apps recently after a security bug exposed personal details of three million customers.

The developer who discovered the vulnerability gave Moonpig 13 months to fix the problem yet they failed to do so. The delay between Moonpig being notified of the data flaw in its app and actually taking action is of concern.

Data is a highly valuable asset that needs to be protected. If companies ignore this, it erodes confidence, damages the brand and simply amounts to poor customer management.

What is your data actually worth?

Data management and security are increasingly becoming strategic imperatives. Digital companies and offerings have grown rapidly over the last 24 months as customers have grown more comfortable with submitting vast amounts of data and information.

That data becomes both the property of the company that holds it and a B2B currency. Often to access content and services, terms and conditions must be accepted, and these usually include giving up a number of rights on privacy and ownership.

Make your data security an asset

Business transformation is also becoming increasingly digitally orientated as companies deal with huge amounts of customer and business data in a fast paced and high technology enabled environment. The vast amount of data that businesses own translates to potential revenue if mined or traded effectively.

Investing in high quality data security can differentiate a business in the market place and attract a higher volume of customer data ‘assets’ and the potential insight and revenue they bring.

Data security flaws and mismanagement will deeply impact trust and ultimately businesses will lose customers and revenue. Companies must raise the strategic profile of data management, invest in it and ultimately ensure they protect it for theirs and their customer’s sake.

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The future of data legislation and security

Legislation has not kept up with the seemingly infinite growth of data volume and the fact that it flows freely across borders makes it increasingly difficult to enforce regulation on its management. Nations also have differing political interests and agendas in this space breeding an inconsistency of approach which can be exploited.

Companies are reluctant to see restrictions introduced on their asset and market differentiator and will resist an over-regulated market. However, flaws and security breaches like this one will only encourage more scrutiny. High profile publicity and wider security issues will force change and it is only a matter of time before companies will have to comply.

Businesses must strive to get ahead of the legislative curve by building data management and security into their business transformation and change portfolio. Data security cannot be handled in isolation. Companies will be tackling this problem whilst under pressure to respond quickly to customer needs and ensure that they remain compliant as regulation changes and evolves.

Business must ensure that there is enough time for robust testing of all possible scenarios that could compromise data security and information management itself must be built into business transformation strategy and delivery projects. CIOs should work closely with the team building this data management into programmes to ensure that controls and disciplines over the portfolio are maintained.

Data security is more of an asset than you think

Data security is no longer just an operational necessity. It is increasingly becoming a point at which companies can get ahead of the competition and further establish their brand and positioning. Customers and businesses rely on technology more and more and are becoming far more aware of the security protecting their data (or lack of it).

Companies that can demonstrate that they take data security and management seriously will stand out in a crowded marketplace and are far more likely to engage, maintain and grow their customer base assets.

By Richard Brackstone, Director at transformation consultancy Moorhouse.