Data Security: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You
When a retailer suffers a data security breach, the results are far-reaching and include financial repercussion, loss of customer trust and damage to the brand. News accounts of high-profile retailers hit by credit account thefts have shown that marketers are vulnerable to such attacks and need to take strong measures to guard against them.
Tim Odell, executive director of technology at SmartReply, a voice and mobile messaging solutions firm, says some retailers have been lax about data security and don’t realize the damage that follows when a breach occurs. One way to combat breaches is to hire hackers to attempt to penetrate your systems at random times, Odell advises.
“When we put our own systems through this kind of testing, we didn’t know what they were going to do, or when,” says Odell, referring to a penetration test that his Irvine,Calif.-based firm had done
Other ways marketers can protect their data security systems, include the following:
Keep customer data in the U.S. Data can be compromised if it’s being transmitted outside the U.S., where there’s no oversight by federal laws.
Use only reputable companies for PCI DSS testing. The major credit card companies have developed Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards to prevent credit card fraud and hacking. A firm that processes credit card payments should be PCI compliant, Odell says.
Check out your providers personally. Visit your marketing providers network facilities to make sure they have state-of-the art security, both technical and physical, to ensure the system is impenetrable to potential hackers.
Know whom they’ve hired. You know employees, but what do you know about the backgrounds of those who work for your provider? Don’t hesitate to call and find out. “These people could be looking at your customer data,” Odell notes. “You have the right to know who they are, and it only takes 30 minutes.”