A whopping amount of digital data is being created every single day. And, as businesses transition to digital and encourage their customers to engage online, there is a lot of data that also gets left behind in the form of digital footprints. IBM’s report of 2017 entitled 10 Key Marketing Trends states that 90% of the world’s data was created in the previous two years at the rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes per day—2.5 quintillions is 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes! Experts further believe that by 2020, the digital universe will be 40 times its present size.
That’s a lot of data—and lot of opportunities for businesses and cyber criminals, alike.
While businesses compete among themselves through innovative services and offerings, ease of use and enhanced user experience, these innovations are opening up opportunities for cyber crimes. As more and more customers engage online, they are leaving behind a larger volume of personal data online—when they sign up for a new service, log in to an existing online account or at payment checkout.
Businesses are staring at losses
Since all of this data, which includes customers’ sensitive personal information—date of birth, residence address, phone number, credit card details, etc—is scattered across various channels, it gives cyber criminals ample opportunities to easily intercept and use data for malicious crimes. Recently, there has been a spate in the incidents of data breach, that have allowed cyber criminals to access sensitive and privileged customer information. Cyber criminals often sell these details on the dark web to make easy money. The more sophisticated crooks exploit this customer data to orchestrate crimes such as identity fraud, credit card fraud, account takeover, money laundering, phishing and so forth.
With global financial losses mounting and cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated and strategic in their attacks, businesses are increasingly finding themselves at the receiving end. Businesses not only lose revenues but also face brand erosion and customer distrust.
Data as a security weapon
The good news, however, is that businesses now realize they can capture all of this data and effectively harness it to protect their customers and business from numerous types of cyber crimes. With advancements in artificial intelligence and other technologies, they can even capture granular details across hundreds and thousands of data points such as the device used, network, location, biometrics, behavioral, and so on. Then using artificial intelligence and machine learning models, they can create digital profiles of individual users. Based on the online behavior of each digital profile, and combining them with historical, contextual, and network data, businesses can efficiently fight fraud and other cyber threats.
Rethinking data approach
Digital businesses know they cannot remain in a reactive state—waiting for an attack to respond. They are now becoming proactive—partly also because of the directives such as the GDPR—to safeguard customer data. Businesses realize that in the data-driven, cognitive landscape, they must put the data in hand to good use. Businesses are, therefore, revisiting their data approaches to prevent exposure to cyber criminals and increasingly embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning to review and authenticate every single request on their business network in real-time.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, Content and Marketing Consultant
She can be reached on LinkedIn.