Keep Data Security at the Core of your Business

28 Apr 2016

Data Security is at the forefront of the news at the moment, but there’s a surprising number of people and organisations that are still a bit naïve about how secure their data is, with many believing they are ‘safe’ from a potential hack, when actually this is far from the truth. And now with the new EU General Data Protection Regulations coming into force in the near future, online protection and data security has never been a more topical conversation.

Lets face it, security breaches can and do happen. At the moment, we seem to hear a lot about providers monitoring and strengthening their framework as a preventative action. It’s something that we as a cloud service provider think is absolutely core to our business and that we consider with each and every feature or integration we incorporate into OpenCRM.

Unfortunately some businesses might think their system is strong enough to protect themselves, with no one able to infiltrate their systems. However we only need to read Tech World’s article on the UK’s 11 most infamous data breaches in 2015 to cringe at how some of the biggest companies in the world missed some simple signs, which could have prevented them from a lot of misery.

If we look at TalkTalk as an example, at the end of 2015 the mobile operator was dealing with the aftermath of what could have potentially been one of the biggest cyber hacks in history. It was first estimated that 4 million customers could have had their data exposed due to the leak. It was later revealed that the actual number was a lot smaller – 157,000, which is still an astronomical figure when talking about the safety of an individual’s data. CEO Dido Harding revealed that the financial cost of this leak was around £35 million.

Imagine what it would have been if the number of people affected was actually the original estimate of 4 million?

Even so, $35 million is a pretty big price to pay for a data breach. So how did TalkTalk get to this figure? Dido explained it was combination of; support in the call centres, the additional IT and technology costs, and that the majority of their websites being down for three weeks, which led to significant loss in revenue.

But on top of this is dealing with a loss in consumer trust resulting in cancelled contracts, and the substantial fines issued by the official regulatory body, due to the business not being able to prevent this leak. Looking at this example alone proves that a breach, relative to the size of the business, demonstrates a massive strain it placed on the entire company.

So above all the internal issues that a data security leak can cause, there is now the potential that the fines you could incur will significantly increase. It was announced recently that with the EU data protection laws, under the latest plans for a new General Data Protection Regulation, businesses could now be fined up to 4 per cent of its annual turnover for breaching its new policy.

And this isn’t just a law for the likes of Google and Starbucks. It’s for everyone.

And when you think about how quickly these data breaches can spiral, you could go from making a tidy profit to being in the red within just a single week – it’s a scary thought.

With the EU’s latest change looming over us, there really isn’t a more opportune time for a company, of any size, to ensure they get ahead and be prepared for when the impending changes come into action.

Data security needs to be a priority for all companies, of any size, in 2016. But during this process don’t just be thinking about the safety of your consumers and your own personal data, think about the entire survival and integrity of your business. We live in a different world compared to 20 years, these days a data leak could be the biggest threat to the existence of any company. So don’t fall into the trap.

As a cloud provider, it is our duty to safeguard all of our customers’ data, ensuring that it meets the new EU regulations and is as safe as possible from threat. We speak to many companies who don’t believe it’s a priority for them right now, but I would say that it should be a priority for everyone.

Make data security a central part of your business processes now before it’s too late. The ramifications, which could include some serious fines and worse, reputational damage, really don’t bear thinking about.