Security and customer experience appear to be the oddest of couples. But if you take a closer look from a business perspective, you will uncover their surprisingly remarkable relationship. The first one is concerned with keeping people safe, while the other focuses on keeping people happy. Safe and happy is a good combination, one that represents a wealth of untapped opportunities for businesses to gain a competitive advantage.
If your company can guarantee its customers a secure online environment, it will be able to create positive experiences that differentiate your business from its competitors.
Shifting the Paradigm
Unfortunately, most executives look at cyber security as a necessary annoyance that needs to be managed, rather than an opportunity to enhance the experience for the people who patronize their business. So the transformation toward providing a secure space for customers begins with a paradigm shift. We must embrace the following realities:
1) Technology is at the heart of many of our business processes, and it has many vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.
2) Protecting our business from cyberattacks creates a secure environment for our customers and increases their trust and confidence in us.
Securing the Customer
Here are some critical areas you can focus on and some of the things you can do to secure your company and provide a pleasant experience for your customers.
Employee Awareness and Training
Start with training all company personnel, including your top executives. Instill in them that everyone has a stake in keeping the company safe and keeping the customers happy. Make sure they are up-to-date with what type of attacks to watch out for. They should know the signs of common threats like botnets, worms, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, pharming, phishing, and malware. Everyone should review company policies, learn to spot anomalies and report them and be guided on what to do when trouble does strike. This helps to build a culture that is focused on securing the entire company.
Secure your technology infrastructure, starting with all your devices. It’s a good idea to establish clear policies on using computing resources. For example, limit the type of data that personnel can store on company computers. As much as possible, use company equipment only for business-related activities. Require employees to encrypt files. If you issue mobile phones and devices, require users to enable PIN access and two-step verification, in case these devices are lost or stolen.
Then focus on your systems, networks, and software. Pay attention to controlling and limiting access to these. Wi-fi devices are especially vulnerable, so remember to change their default passwords. Consider segmenting your network so that only a specific system occupies each network segment. For example, accounting should sit in its own sub-network, while marketing also has its own defined space. This helps limit the damage in case of an attack.
Having to deal with all the elements of the infrastructure can be challenging and complicated, especially if you have dozens of computers and devices to manage. If you outsource your systems through a third-party provider, vetting your suppliers imposes additional requirements on your due diligence. It’s a good idea to use an asset management system to keep track of all of these elements. Supplement this with a carefully crafted security plan.
Points of Contact Along the Customer Journey
Define the entire customer journey as best as you can and identify all the points of contact before, during and after a sale or transaction. Each of these touchpoints is a potential attack site and should be secured. Simple practices like implementing the secure sockets layer (SSL) and secure hypertext transfer protocol (HTTPS) to encrypt website connections go a long way to make it difficult for cybercriminals to steal data. Stay ahead of attackers by undertaking regular reviews of these touchpoints, including email, databases and social media. By clearing the path on this journey, you increase the possibility of an enjoyable interaction with the customer.
Educate the Customer
Demonstrate to them that you are serious about giving them a trouble-free experience by disclosing your cybersecurity efforts. At the same time communicate how your initiatives affect them and the security of their data.
Forward-thinking, due diligence and taking proactive cybersecurity measures are key ingredients to concocting the experience your customers will appreciate.