In hindsight, warnings about the connection between online usage and sharing of information should have been made in huge, neon announcements.
The excitement of being part of the digital revolution has overshadowed the realisation about the depth and complexity of information that consumers share about themselves as they move about the online space. It also doesn’t help that data privacy terms and conditions of these platforms are too long, too complicated, and much too legalese for your average busy consumer to try to understand (or even read).
The past couple of years, however, has been a sobering wake-up call as one large company after another fell victim to data breaches and cyber attacks. Now, everyone from large enterprises to startups to consumers are beginning to prioritise data privacy and security.
The problem? Technology that gathers data is too much ingrained in our daily lives that it will be impossible to turn back. Add to that the fact that innovation will only continue to evolve. The answer then is to make sure that technology’s evolution does not come at the expense of information privacy.
More than just policy
The problem with data is that it can now be gathered whether we give permission or not. The moment we log on to a website or use an app, our actions are tracked and stored.
In light of the recent news on data breaches, consumers should now be more concerned about the data they give out but studies show that there is a disparity between consumer concerns and behaviour when it comes to protecting their data.
Simply put, while consumers are concerned about their data privacy, most of them don’t do anything to ensure it.
“Consumers put an overwhelming amount of trust on the companies that they transact or associate with because they believe in their promised trustmarks,” said Michelle Yeo, co-founder of DataVLT.
For businesses, ensuring data privacy is not just a policy but a key component for their reputation. Internally, ensuring that the data they gathered is secure helps businesses in managing their risks. Externally, it helps them earn their consumers’ trust.
That is why there is a general outrage when data breaches on Uber and Facebook and Yahoo were brought to light. Consumers trusted these enterprises to keep their data safe.
This is equally true even for businesses of a smaller size. “Data thieves do not care about how big or small your data is. Their intention is to monetise from their stolen data,” said Willy Wong, co-founder of DataVLT.
And it’s not just people who want to monetise stolen data that businesses should watch out for said Wong. A data leak of customer information or go-to-market deas can make or break a company if said information fell into the hands of their competition.
This puts the responsibility of data privacy largely on the hands of businesses, which is very beneficial for them if done correctly.
“By handling that data lawfully and securely, companies can make data privacy a unique selling point. It is just as much about restoring trust by reassuring consumers their data is both respected and protected,” said Yeo.
Removing a single point of failure
Traditional data security systems work in a centralised manner, usually presenting attackers with one central target: the central server.
Security has always been a cat-and-mouse game between attackers and businesses, with businesses trying their best to make sure that they are always ahead of attackers. But with the speed of today’s innovation, there are no guarantees that business will always stay ahead.
This is where blockchain comes in. “The distributed nature of blockchain-based solutions allows records to be kept on various computers and servers around the world, removing single point of failure from the equation,” said Benny Low, co-founder of DataVLT.
To put simply, for attackers to breach the network, it would mean that they have to achieve control of 51 per cent of the network, which according to Low is nearly impossible to pull off. “Decentralisation would be one of the critical elements for future cyber security developments,” said Low.
Beyond that, blockchain opens up a world of opportunities in terms of data privacy as there currently is no single model for the technology.
“There is still a significant work being done to refine and develop the blockchain technology for real world applications – especially around privacy and storage,” said Low.
Data, when used, is a very powerful tool. This is why there is such a clamour to protect it and why businesses are scrambling for solutions to ensure its security.
“By the sole fact that data can generate future benefits, it becomes an asset,” said Yeo. “Any asset used to improve your business should remain secure and confidential.”
DataVLT is an on-demand, self-service data analytics platform designed to provide its users with an integrated overview of the state of their business based on the data available. They make data analytics and security available to businesses of any size by taking on the complexity of data analytics and providing companies with an easy-to-use platform to manage and analyse their data.
Their aim is to build secure information ecosystems to empower businesses to make more informed decisions by providing democratised data.
Disclosure: This article is produced by e27 content marketing team, sponsored by DataVLT.
Featured image credit: phive2015 / 123RF Stock Photo