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Cybersecurity

According to a recent survey conducted by IBM, nearly two-thirds of consumers are more concerned about a breach of their private data than they are about going to war. Companies of all types and sizes collect and maintain customer data. Individuals purchasing goods or services on-line often click through terms of use and data privacy policies without reading them, and those making in-person transactions often swipe a store card that offers discounts or other benefits without thinking twice about the data collected. The customer assumes and expects that the company will protect their data and will not use, store, or share it in a way that puts them at risk. Although most American baby boomers, gen-Xers, and millennials do not recall or have never experienced a war, the fear of breach is oddly disproportionate to the blind trust we seem place in the companies with which we share our personal data.

Those customer assumptions and expectations persist, despite the prevalence of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and prevalence of sales to data aggregators. The result is that companies must actively defend their customers’ data from inappropriate access and use. Today, a company should put as much effort into defending and protecting its customer data as it puts into defending and protecting its proprietary data and trade secrets, since breach, loss, or misuse will, at the very least, erode customer trust and the company’s reputation.

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