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According to the Risk-Based Securities 2021 mid-year report, there were over 1,700 data breaches within the first six months of 2021, which exposed approximately 18.8 billion records. Data collection is now a normal part of our lives, which includes the tracking of our spending habits, search trends, time spent on certain features, financial and employment data – the list goes on and on. Given this concerning number of data breaches and the alarming news of hackers that we hear about on a daily basis, organisations should be asking: “how do we keep our customers’ data safe and secure?”

At CoTé Software & Solutions (CoTé), the art of delivering a great customer experience (CX) is making sure your customers trust your brand to ensure their data is private and secure. Many organizations will make this guarantee to their consumers, but how can you verify that your company and customer data records are safe?

Beware of the Phish

Scammers use popular phishing attacks to trick you into exposing your personal and confidential information. The scammers often pose as someone from a reputable organization, such as a financial or insurance company. The communications are made to appear authentic, and they frequently utilise the same structure as the organisation the scammer claims to represent, including branding and logos. As a customer or organization, you may have received a phishing attack in the form of a suspicious text message, email, or phone call that delivered a believable call to action.

While human error may lead us to accidentally proceed with the scam, your back-end and front-end technology stack should be built around data sovereignty, security, and privacy, with certified business practices to support your customers and employees in avoiding scams. As you work with your customers on making sure their data is secure with your organization, offering tips such as password management and setting up firewalls for protection can help avoid potentially costly mistakes. Educate your employees on common phishing methods and raise the same solutions to your teammates to help minimize the risk of data theft.

Set Up Your Organisations First Line of Defence – Trust Cloud

According to research from the National Cyber Security Alliance, almost 50% of all small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack and more than 70% of attacks specifically target small businesses. Furthermore, about 60% of these hacked businesses fall within the six months after being hacked.

To help prevent these cyber-attacks on your organization, ask yourself questions regarding the strength of your business’ passwords, data storage units, and practices. Are you and your employees setting up unique passwords and updating them regularly throughout the year? Are you and your organization staying compliant and storing all business logic and interactions in the correct, secure locations? If you store a lot of information locally, is it encrypted and are you using firewalls and antivirus software on your equipment?

These are all important questions to ask as you position your organization to handle potential threats. Having an outdated security infrastructure can also be costly. In Australia, we found that the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.35 million – an increase of almost 10% from 2019.  This is one reason why CoTé chooses to partner with Microsoft Azure Cloud. With a $1 billion USD investment annually in cyber security, the Azure service provides multi-layered security for CoTé’s Enterprise Experience Management (EXM) platform virsaic™  to ensure stability, scalability, faster accessibility, and resilience across all our applications for our customers. Furthermore, one of the key benefits is the automation of Azure processes in the cloud to reduce human error that may be responsible for security breaches.

Ensure your solutions and programs are consistently updated and work with your IT team to review your security practices and business processes. Your organization can also use a service like virsaic™  to help your organization focus on delivering the personalised customer experience yet meeting risk and compliance needs. By using a cloud-based solution application like CoTe, you can easily replace legacy systems with a single solution, helping you reduce operating expenses, maintain data integrity, and improve the overall employee and customer experience.

Data Integrity is Everything

One of the biggest fears around a cyber-attack or data breach is the fact that it can happen at any point, and it may be hard to detect until after the damage is already done. The last thing you and your organization want is to deliver a message to your customers about their data being breached. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly 87% of consumers are willing to walk away from a brand if a data breach occurs.

In addition to the factors stated earlier about unique passwords, encryption, and setting up a strong technology stack with high-quality inbuilt risk and compliance processes with a company like CoTe, organizations must always have awareness around the state of their data.

According to CoTé partner, Microsoft Trusted Cloud e-Book

“Azure safeguards customer data for applications, platform, system, and storage using four specific methods: segregation, encryption, redundancy, and destruction. Azure offers protection for customer data both in transit and at rest, and supports encryption for data, files, applications, services, communications.” 

CoTé chooses to work with best-of-breed technology partners and it is a testament to Microsoft Cloud for delivering Azure services to the US Government.

If your organization has been lucky and has avoided any cases of a data breach, here are a few tips CoTé keeps in mind to prevent an attack and maintain a high standard of service to our customers:

  • Identify role-based access and identity protection for your employees and customers
  • Ensure all applications adhere to the same data security protocol
  • Establish strong network firewalls across all your technology stack
  • Protect your organization from malware threats and ensure you have a threat detection response management process in place
  • Track and trace operational processes, including employee and customer interactions within a compliant digital archive to store all data and actions taken.
  • Ensure all employee and customer touchpoints from sale to service not only meet the brand guidelines but the regulatory requirements
  • Report on organisations performance in real-time to proactively monitor when a critical response is required.

If you think your organization has been breached, work with your IT provider to restore and verify your backup solutions. If you use a cloud-based provider like CoTe, ensure you communicate the unusual behavior you are noticing so your organization’s partner can help determine the next steps and provide assistance so you can deliver the best customer experience during the recovery phase.  

Strong infrastructure and a secure first line of defense are crucial for setting up your organization’s treasure chest of data. Whether you work with an IT professional, or partner with a service provider like CoTe to help your risk management on the backend, keep an attentive eye on the health of your organization’s security so you can continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience and protect your brand reputation.

Contact CoTé today to see how our services can help your organisation set up the best line of defence!