Businesses ‘must keep data secure’

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The recent furore around data and information security has put a great deal of pressure on companies to ensure they keep their systems safe from intrusion and avoid losing sensitive material, particularly when they wish to use it for marketing purposes.

Only nine per cent of consumers have confidence in brands to keep their data secure, representing a ten-year low when it comes to consumer trust, according to a report by Fujitsu released late last year.

George Gee, head of CRM at restaurant reservation service Bookatable, told Marketing Week huge organisations such as Tesco and Barclays getting it wrong highlights just how difficult keeping information safe can be.

The latter recently saw thousands of confidential files hacked and stolen, while the former has some 2,000 customer data profiles posted online by a cyber criminal.

Given the huge volume of information being processed by many firms, particularly as big data analytics begins to gain traction within the corporate world, it is clear that this issue is unlikely to be swept under the carpet.

Mr Gee suggested that ensuring all members of staff within an organisation know the best practice when handling sensitive information is one way of reducing the likelihood of embarrassing incidents.

“Obviously, our IT department has processes in place around security on laptops and computers for example, but human error will always be a factor in these situations and organisations need to limit that ” he explained.

CRM can help in that it ensures data goes through safe channels and is dealt with by the right people, suggested Mr Gee.

He also advocated that companies should not hold on to information for too long after they have utilised it, which is also a process that can be automated through the use of a CRM system.

“It limits our risk because our database is where data should be held. It is about addressing human error – your systems can be as secure as possible but, ultimately, if someone decides to email a bit of data to someone, then that [system] is flawed,” concluded the Booktable expert.