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How increased cyber threats putting customer data and the global cyber ecosystem in danger

Apr 30, 2019, 5:01 pm

Critical infrastructure attacks are up 43%, according to research from TrendMicro. And the attacks are getting more sophisticated each day.

The most common infrastructure attacks in ranked order, include:

  • Phishing
  • Unpatched Vulnerabilities
  • DDoS
  • SQL Injection
  • Cross-Site Scripting

The growing global cyber ecosystem is making the possibility of a data breach more likely each day.

A global cyber ecosystem is built from a massive network of computers and other devices connected together.

And our current cyber ecosystem is growing more and we become more dependent on staying connected.

A healthy global cyber ecosystem is able to fend off viruses, infections, and other types of attacks. But a vulnerable one connected to the ecosystem can leave a door open for infection.

As more and more business collect customer data from online and offline sources, the importance of increased security measures becomes glaringly obvious.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

A customer data platform is a tool that marketing managers use to collect personal information that identified their customers using online and offline sources.

All the information gathered is then stored in a database where a profile is built for each customer.

The devices collect TONS of information about us, and all of that information is stored in a CDP profile. How is that information being protected?

Personal Information Legal Framework

Certain countries have enacted legal frameworks designed to protect customers and define how information can be collected and processed.

In the European Union (EU), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was created to lay out the rules for data collection, data management, and upholding individual data rights.

And while the United States doesn’t currently have a federal data privacy law such as the GDPR, it’s likely that such legislation may be coming.

Collecting customer data is not as difficult as one may think. In fact, most companies have been doing it for quite some time. Some ways that customer data is collected include:

  • Payment processors.
  • Customer relationship management systems (CRM).
  • Web Forms
  • Surveys

Of course, this isn’t all of the ways customer data can be collected, but rather a small example of ways we’re already giving up our data without knowing it.

Companies such as Formget make it easy to build web forms and surveys in minutes. Plus, the forms are easily integrated into websites in just a few clicks.

These forms are used to gather customer data. The data is then stored in a CDP until a customer profile, or multiple profiles are needed.

The GDPR defines how data should be stored and protected. In Article 37 of the GDPR, they actually mandate the use of a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

DPO’s are required to:

  • Monitor the organization for compliance with all GDPR guidelines.
  • Monitor their networks and databases for data privacy risks.
  • Make sure that all staff is trained in data processing requirements.
  • Maintain all records of data processing.
  • Conduct security audits to protect from cyber attacks.
  • Be a point of contact for any request for data collection from outside agencies.

Most companies are not equipped to bring in a dedicated DPO, nor do they have the knowledge to inboard them.

Instead, most companies use an outside service provider for their DPO needs. There are a plethora of benefits you can enjoy when outsourcing your cybersecurity-related tasks to third-party vendors. For one thing, these vendors know a good bit about the protection laws and how to keep you from falling out of compliance.

While the GDPR is only in effect in the European Union, there’s a chance that the United States will end up adopting it and/or a version of it.

Not only that, but these cybersecurity companies also specialize in just that — cybersecurity — therefore, are more equipped to protecting your business against cybercriminals.

With the help of third-party cybersecurity companies, you can enact better measures to safeguard your online assets.

Our Current Global Cyber Ecosystem

As we become more dependent on technology, and data collection, our cyber ecosystem will continue to grow and mature.

But so will cyber threats.

Attackers know that one BIG data breach can pay out handsomely.

Consider the Equifax breach of 2017. Over 147 million records were stolen through an unpatched data breach.

The data they were able to retrieve included social security numbers, login credentials, credit card information.

If we take those minimum value of each of those, we find that each record was worth $26.

To put that in content, the breach was worth $3,822,000,000 to the hacker(s) who breached the Equifax infrastructure.

We all trust that our data is safe, but the United States is lagging severely.

The European Union (EU) released the GDPR in 2018 to combat issues just like this. The penalties for noncompliance to the GDPR are high.

  • Up to €10 million, or 2% annual global turnover – whichever is higher; or
  • Up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher.

And in some rare cases, it could be even higher as was the case against Google. Google was fined $57 million under the EU’s GPDR privacy law.

Google is based in the United States and they were still affected by the GDPR.

Could your company be affected by the GDPR or a newly implement federal data privacy law now or in the future?

Be Part Of A Healthy Cyber Ecosystem

While it may not seem worthwhile, becoming GDPR compliant now can help your company in the future.

The current global cyber ecosystem is fairly healthy, and moves are being implemented to restore any degraded areas. Certain laws are being established to stop infections before they start.

The GDPR is just the first domino in a line of many dominoes about to fall.

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