Last week, our head of products, Adrian Kunzle, shared his thoughts on the power of AI to help companies retain and gain competitive advantage in today’s ever more challenging market landscape. In this post, I’ll cover another critical driver of business resilience: trust. The reality is, unless the intelligence driving your business can be trusted, it’s worthless. And if customers—whether in a B2B or B2C environment—don’t trust you to protect their data, they’ll take their dollars elsewhere.
Unfortunately, major data breaches and other corporate scandals have left many consumers reluctant to share their data. And in the context of the current pandemic, more than 55% say they've been targeted by fraud or scams related to COVID-19. In response to rock-bottom levels of consumer trust, government regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) raised the bar for storing and using customer, employee, and other sensitive information.
Today, 85% of consumers say they wish there were more companies they could trust with their data, and at least half don’t trust companies to protect their personal data or use it ethically.
These data governance expectations put a substantial burden on you to implement comprehensive data privacy practices, offer eloquent ways for users to opt-out permanently, and demonstrate that your company respects consumers’ wishes.
Key Levers of Trust
This trust-building imperative often leads to uncertainty amongst teams about whether their current approach to managing compliance will remain sustainable in the face of change. How can you comply with new requirements without it becoming overly burdensome? Of course, security practices are paramount. To keep your business going in this data-driven world, you must store and backup compliant data, but you can’t ignore that those same backups are a soft target for malicious attackers and ransomware attacks. If you’re saving CRM backups to desktops or Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, be aware that they often contain firmware vulnerabilities that put you at higher risk. In addition, they are susceptible to several additional attack vectors, since they might use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), reside on flat networks where ransomware and malware can spread more easily, have no or weak encryption, etc.
How you use and protect data will be a crucial lever for increasing your organization’s resilience and cultivating higher levels of trust. Keep in mind that trends such as the increasing complexity of cloud environments and low-code development on top of SaaS platforms like Salesforce (which we’ll cover in this series’ next few posts), significantly exacerbate the trust crisis our industry is facing. When people who aren’t trained tech admins manage your application security and permissions, you are inevitably going to wind up in situations where many users can access and modify data that they shouldn’t. The more open your permissions are, the greater your chances of an accidental corruption, or of privileged user credentials getting into the hands of bad actors.
Turning Trust In To a Disruptor
Losing control of your most sensitive customer data—whether through a breach or inadvertent corruption—is a nightmare no CIO wants to face. On the positive side, when you employ a robust data governance strategy, trust can become a competitive differentiator. Forrester predicts an interesting change following the current pandemic:
“Trust and identity will become currency, and digital will be a basic commodity. Firms that can convince consumers to buy into sharing more personal data, such as biometric or behavioral data, will deliver anticipatory experiences that predict their shopping, financial, and entertainment needs.”
This is why data governance and compliance should always be a top priority, no matter how daunting they feel. Given all of the constantly changing requirements that govern businesses’ huge volumes of complex data, every company should employ an intentional data governance strategy. Thankfully, you can get ahead of the regulatory burden by carefully preserving your data in reliable, audit-ready archives.
Be sure to proactively manage your data archives with preset retention policies for streamlined compliance and reporting. Carefully define what data to store, how often, and for how long, as well as rules about who can restore archives. And finally, make sure your archives are completely immutable and highly secure. Businesses that embrace these data governance best practices will bridge trust gaps, so they can rapidly collect the data needed to disrupt their industries through data-powered intelligence.