As the Internet has become a crucial part of everyday life, so too has the need to access it virtually anytime, anywhere. As a result, more businesses are offering free Wi-Fi and more consumers are willing to connect to it. Unfortunately, these unsecure Wi-Fi networks and apps with privacy vulnerabilities make personal information and company data easily accessible by cybercriminals.

David Thomas, founder and CEO of Evident ID, Inc. and an accomplished cybersecurity entrepreneur, sat down with Inside Counsel to share the questionable behaviors–like using free Wi-Fi–that might be leading to the increase in data breaches, whether businesses need to rethink the BYOD approach and the lengths businesses will need to go in order to protect personal data in the future.

Today, businesses may need to hold large amounts of personal data to verify individuals’ credentials, licenses etc. This data repository makes it a prime target for hackers that may use a variety of ways to hack into this database. Unsecure Wi-Fi networks is just one method of compromising this data which can lead to major legal and financial liabilities. 

“If there is a way for companies to interact with consumers without having to share or exchange or transfer personal data, it will not give hackers a place to attack it,” explained Thomas. “Instead of targeting and hacking a large database of personal data, they must try to hack millions of personal device of each consumer to get that data.”

Evident brings peace of mind to every personal data interaction ensuring that the data stays stored on the individuals’ devices making it very difficult for hackers. Businesses protect themselves against data breaches by limiting the amount of data they store and must secure. By leveraging cloud based encryption, it mitigates the risk of having a customer database hacked. 

In the future, business will need to adopt secure, simplified solutions that allow businesses and individuals to share verified personal data. Personal data has consistently been a reliable source for validating a person’s identity – driver’s licenses, credit history, social security numbers, and birth certificates are all forms of identification that authenticate individuals to companies. While accessing authentic information may have been possible, the interactions have been complicated, time consuming and likely inefficient for everyone involved.

“Companies are investing more time and energy to effectively acquire, manage and protect the personal information of their users and workforce to the detriment of their own business focus,” he said. “Additionally, the regulatory requirements and liability that accompany any interaction with personal data continue to increase, putting additional strain on businesses to stay current in their efforts and information. As the use of personal data grows, the need for an innovative, more secure solution to protect personal data becomes even greater.”

From a user perspective, as individuals are asked to provide their information more broadly, security concerns and a loss of control become more prevalent, possibly even putting once standard interactions at risk, according to Thomas. Individuals are looking for an easy way to manage their personal information with minimal friction and energy.