Lessons from 2012’s big data breaches
In the last few years, the digital revolution has made it easier than ever for customers to shop online. The rise of e-commerce and the emergence of smartphones and near field communications (NFC) has made browsing and paying for products and services a fast, painless affair. Unfortunately, this new convenience can also give way to data breaches and other security risks that leave websites open to attack. Although 2012 was marked by a series of data breaches, these cases offer compelling lessons for business owners. Here are three of the most important.
Lesson 1: Move quickly to mitigate the risk
US online shoe retailer Zappos is known for its seamless use of technology and customer-centric approach to doing business. However, its industry kudos was threatened when 24 million of its customer accounts fell into the hands of hackers earlier this year. The security attack saw cyber criminals gain access to customer names, email addresses and the last four digits of credit card numbers – a serious violation of privacy with severe implications for the Zappos brand. Luckily, the online retailer moved into damage control by instantly advising customers to reset their passwords and enlisting its nationwide staff base to help affected shoppers.
Lesson 2: Adopt the latest encryption technologies
For many of us, LinkedIn has become an indispensible tool for making connections and tapping into the job market. But the social networking site’s 160 million-strong user base couldn’t have anticipated how vulnerable their carefully guarded details are to threat of attack. In July, LinkedIn saw 6.5 million of its customers’ passwords posted on the internet thanks to a cyber attack. This security disaster is a lesson in the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest data encryption technologies and cyber protection software.
Lesson 3: Communicate with your customers
In October, the country’s national mail carrier attracted the wrath of its customers when their details were made public due to a website flaw caused by a manipulated URL. Unfortunately, Australia Post failed to act swiftly when alerted to the problem by a staff member – an oversight that damaged the brand’s credibility and suggested its inability to put its customers first. The situation was made worse by Australia Post’s reluctance to convey to customers when the problem would be fixed.
This year’s data breaches offer powerful insight into the importance of data security and the best ways to manage the fallout should your website come under threat.
When was the last time you assessed your data security systems?
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