How to Effectively Address Privacy Concerns

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Other steps to relieving customer fears of privacy erosion

Consumer trust is a valuable commodity in the business world. It is difficult to earn, but it can be wiped out in an instant. Part of the fallout from its data breach, for example, was the loss of trust consumers had in Target. But Target also did little to gain the confidence of its customers as the retailer slowly trickled out the details of the breach, every news update sharing more devastating news. That's why businesses need to be proactive and respond quickly when a breach does happen. Said Bradshaw:

Communication is key. For example, in the wake of the Heartbleed bug, several companies have been aggressive in putting forth statements that indicate whether or not their products could potentially be affected by the bug. This should become a standard practice when major events occur.

Also, businesses can be more transparent in the way they communicate their privacy practices, Bradshaw added. For example, stating explicitly what privacy and data protection mandates they adhere to and what has been their rate of audit success.

Finally, companies should be forthright in explaining that following compliance regulations doesn't go hand-in-hand with privacy and security applications. Enterprise needs to take the extra step to assure consumers that their privacy is taken seriously.

Survey after survey shows it: Both consumers and employees question privacy on enterprise networks. For example, TRUSTe, a global data privacy management company, found that consumer trust has hit a three-year low. A GFI Software survey found that employees worry about identity theft within their company.

However, while the concerns themselves aren't new, the survey results are showing a new trend, said Barry Shteiman, director of Security Strategy at Imperva:

This new awareness is because many breaches in the past two years have resulted in the leakage of private information, and for that reason it became top-of-mind. However, this is a problem that has existed since the birth of data systems decades ago. That being said, the concern is real – breaches that risk business and private user information, such as their Social Security numbers, credit card information and other details create the risk of identity theft, and financial loss.

It isn't just breaches that are the problem, Renee Bradshaw, senior solutions manager at NetIQ, added:

With the hyper-focus on the NSA spying scandal, the Target breach, and most recently, the Heartbleed bug, it's no wonder that many Americans are very concerned about data privacy. The prospect of having your most private information bared for all to see, or of having your personal wealth plundered by the "bad guys," has become a real possibility – a part of public consciousness. Understandably, there is fear, and not without merit.

Now that consumers and employees are both growing more vocal about the risks involved, it is time for enterprise to start understanding how data leaks occur and addressing privacy concerns.


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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