Emerging data protection threats to Internet biz

Infotech Lead Asia: Emerging data protection threats will impact your Internet businesses significantly.

Companies which fail in protecting private data may see their customer base switch loyalties to competitors. Companies that are careless with customer data lists and risk data and identity thefts may also face substantial regulatory penalties and civil liability.

There are many software solutions that help secure company and customer data. Dell Data Protection Encryption Enterprise Edition is a comprehensive encryption solution for the entire organization.

NetIQ is another such data protection solution that helps to stop attacks and protects data. Symantec, IBM, Microsoft and many other such software providers now offer several data protection solutions to suit even mid sized and small internet businesses.

The internet has revolutionized entrepreneurship in the past 10 years. According to Goldman Sach’s estimate, global e-commerce is growing by 19.4 percent a year and worldwide retail web sales will reach nearly $1 trillion by 2013.

With an increasing number of individuals as well as organizations scrambling to get a foothold in the online business and new players appearing in the market everyday, online consumers are spoilt for choice.

However, consumers have become soft targets for spam, unsolicited marketing e-mails, targeted advertising and phishing attacks.

Consumers are now empowered with new tools and services to monitor, control, and secure their personal data better. They also seem better informed and willing to use such tools to secure their data.

Consumers’ attitudes have hardened and as Ovum’s latest Consumer Insights Survey reveals, 68 percent of the Internet population across 11 countries would select a “do-not-track” (DNT) feature if it was easily available. This would directly impact the internet economy as merchants will lose access to potential customers.

(source: icezen.com)

Following recent data privacy scandals such as WhatsApp’s use of address books, and the continuing issues over privacy and data use policies on Facebook and Google websites, consumers seem to guard their personal data even more fiercely than ever. Ovum’s survey found that only 14 percent of respondents believe that Internet companies are honest about their use of consumers’ personal data.

The findings of a consumer survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by VeriSign reveal that 1 percent of consumers would not make a transaction on a website that does not protect their online identity.

Andrew McClelland at industry body IMRG says, “It’s in the best interests of online businesses and consumers to ensure that every transaction is protected from fraud and out of reach from identity thieves.”

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said about internet freedom, “The open and uncensored Internet is a great engine of social and economic progress – but it is under threat. Through the United Nation’s agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a number of countries are attempting to establish greater governmental control of the Internet. Their efforts, if successful, could destroy the open and innovative technology platform that millions around the world need and trust.”

Consumers world have begun frowning upon data mining. Governments are trying to form data protection laws that strike a perfect balance between consumers and web businesses so that data is protected without completely stifling businesses that are dependent on direct marketing and advertising.

A serious data breach could cost a business a lot to investigate and remediate and damages its credibility. Although taking precautions to secure consumer data can be costly and time consuming; security managers must understand that companies which invest time and resources to maintain proper data security benefit because their customers view them as trustworthy.

Sangeeta Sudhakaran
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