Data has become our bread and butter. Why don't we handle it more carefully?
With information and ideas becoming a commodity in the business world, you’d think that more businesses would protect and manage these assets the way banks manage cash. The sad reality is that many businesses continue to fail their customers with poor data management — and it’s not who you’d expect. Large entities such as health insurance provider Aetna and national restaurant chain Jason’s Deli let many of their poor data management processes put their organization and clientele data at risk.
In this piece, we’re going to look at the impact of poor data security and management in four possible outcomes —even though there are many more than just four!
1. You can compromise or even lose customer data.
While valuable company data can always be backed up to prevent its loss, stolen customer data continues to hurt your clientele for years, if not decades later. Receiving junk mail from companies who bought their home and email addresses from data scavengers is actually the best scenario from a data breach. This still pales in comparison to the ravages of identity theft that can result from poor management of your customer’s electronic content and personal information. Customer trust in your brand will be immediately weakened by any data compromise which will hurt your bottom line.
2. You may actually be in violation of certain regulations and laws.
As a business, customers trust you with some of their most sensitive information. In order to help protect citizens against risk, the governments of most countries have a number of laws concerning how businesses handle data. If your business is not up to date on the latest data management practices, you may have more than lost or stolen data to be worried about. Yep, you may actually be in violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations. Few things kill an organization faster than a Federal investigation into your business practices.
Actually breaking laws is frequently one of the least understood potential impacts of a poorly managed database, but one absolutely worth understanding.
3. You may be putting intellectual property at risk.
Most of us don't think that having money-making ideas stolen is an impact of poor data governance, but it most definitely is. Companies pour billions of dollars into developing intellectual property that gives them a competitive edge in their field. The development of new products, strategies, or processes should be securely managed. When you engage in poor data management, you’re essentially giving Slugworth the keys to the Wonka Factory. Proper data management is key to protecting intellectual property.
4. You may have your company data held for ransom.
While it sounds like the plot of a Liam Neeson action thriller, being taken for ransom happens to the data of companies all over the world every day. Even just within the first half of 2017, businesses lost around $544 billion to ransomware schemes alone — which is just one type of data ransoming. Poor data governance can weaken your company’s security infrastructure, pretty much sounding the alarm for cybersecurity threats to swarm in to steal sensitive data or hold it for ransom. If you think that you wouldn’t negotiate with data thieves, your accountant may end up doing the math and determine that it’s easier to simply pay them what they want.
Just as you'd seek out a financial advisor for help managing your investment, it also makes sense to seek out data professionals to help you manage every facet of your data. This is one sphere of your business you don't want to assume will be just fine without professional supervision.