A good portion of our lives is spent online. People learn, shop, work, and play games on the internet. The increase in online activity has a snowball effect. As large sectors of the population shop online, businesses find it increasingly profitable to expand eCommerce. Besides, data that fuels marketing strategies is often found online.
Few people feel that the internet is a private place. Of course, the web brings people together through communication opportunities such as social media, but it isn’t unreasonable for many to feel they are being spied on. This isn’t far from the truth. Internet activity leaves footprints and traces that companies can legally use for data research.
Even with the tightest privacy settings, user information is inevitably retrieved by browsers and passed on to websites. In addition, sites can see visitor IP addresses and know where they are from. The sites can also detect activity, such as which links were clicked, which pages were visited, and how much time was spent by a visitor on specific pages.
The above described legal and legitimate activity; however, the most worrisome intrusions are hackers and unscrupulous third parties seeking to sabotage or steal sensitive information. The effects of these actions can be destructive and far-reaching. Hackers can make charges on a credit card or can go further with full identity theft.
Although not many believe that the internet is a private place, there are many steps users can take to keep information secure and prevent at least the more destructive forms of data retrieval. Online shopping is safer with measures such as two-step verification, such as using a simple password and then typing in a code sent by text.
Password management is also essential. Passwords should be changed periodically and contain upper and lower cases, numbers, and symbols to make them distinctive. Regular updates notifying users when to change passwords enhance security. Installing anti-virus software will also protect against viruses and malware, but the software should be updated regularly to be truly useful.
Disguising one’s identity online is a useful way to bypass many security problems. This is where a tool called VPN comes in. A VPN provides double protection because it conceals the user’s actual IP address and provides an alternate one. Besides, all data that passes is encoded to be deciphered by a third party and used for unintended purposes. Therefore, a VPN download is a must and provides full service in a few easy steps.
Why Franchise Owners Need Data Protection
Having data compromised is severe enough for individuals, but it can be even more dangerous for a business. More people, more money, and brand reputation are in the equation. The following are some problems that a data breach can cause a company.
Impact on Company Losses and Revenue
Financial losses breaches cause is staggering and rising every year. A malicious attack or a theft of customer information can cost large companies millions. These data breaches can be caused by insufficient security systems in the company network. This is the reason investment in internet security is an essential investment for every company.
Consequences: In addition to the losses caused by the actual theft of lucrative data, a company may face fines if they fail to report to customers that a breach has occurred. Also, legal fees from customer lawsuits can take their toll. The cost of upgrading security systems is substantial. Some losses can’t be measured, such as lost revenue from consumers who have heard of the breach and decide to do business with a rival.
A data breach can involve a company in legal headaches on many fronts. Regulatory bodies would exact penalties if the breach were not reported immediately, and customers can sue the company if a hacker got their financial information or social security number.
Consequences: Legal woes can be a considerable expense for any business. Failure to report a breach on time can cause a small fine to turn into a much larger one. If the breach involves many customers, they may file a class action suit for a large amount of money. Legal problems can turn a moderate financial problem into an unmanageable one.
Low employee morale can create productivity problems and erode the faith they have in management. Employees may worry if their own data is safe. Some may be concerned about the future of their jobs or decide to leave.
Consequences: It can be hard to keep and retain genuine talent in the workforce. A security breach that could have been prevented, such as through management investing in better security systems, can lower morale and cause employees to lose their trust. They may be worried about getting hacked themselves or wonder if they will have their jobs cut if the financial fallout is significant. The best may decide to go elsewhere.
Impact on Customer Trust and Customer Turnover
Data breaches and major hacks are big news. People will hear about it if there has been unauthorized access to data at a well-known company. This will impact the way consumers feel about a company.
Consequences: it is hard to calculate the amount of revenue that would have been available if customers stay with a company or if new customers had made their first purchase without the breach. The unfortunate fact is that customers hear about these breaches and often take the business to rivals. Those who were moving towards the company may take a step back. A business may be hard for a while after the data breach.
Company Brand and Reputation
A company can do everything else right, but customers are likely to remember if sensitive information is intercepted. This adversely affects the brand and the reputation it took years to create.
Consequences: It can be hard to shake lousy news like a security breach. Not only is it an emotional blow and threatens a sense of security, but brand reputation could suffer for quite a while, even with evidence the problem has been fixed. The resulting drop in revenues may happen for a time until there is good news again.
Stay Vigilant and Optimistic
Although these are negative scenarios, many companies weather a problem like a data breach if they react right away, implement security solutions, make restitution if needed, and launch a PR campaign to win back customers. Almost a third of all companies will have data compromised at some point, so it is vital to have a realistic view of what can happen and to prevent it through using the above-mentioned methods.