Nobody wants a burger with a side of cyber attack

Last week we were asked if online security can impact the customer experience. Absolutely it can.

Take for example the potential issues around collecting a person’s date of birth. Many companies collect this information in order to offer free food or a discount voucher on a customer’s birthday as a way of enhancing the customer experience. However in a recent threat briefing, the Australian Cyber Security Centre warned about the dangers of collecting dates of birth.

They explained that often a person’s date of birth is the last piece of information that cyber criminals need to steal a person’s identity as much of the other personal information is often already available on the dark web. They even went as far to say that in the event of a data breach, the loss of clients’ dates of birth could potentially meet the threshold for serious harm under the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme, thus triggering legal obligations for eligible companies to report the breach to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner as well as impacted customers.

So what does this mean for the customer experience? Well everyone loves a burger, but not when it comes with a side of cyber attack. From a security perspective, businesses have two options. The first is not to collect dates of birth. If a business doesn’t collect it then a cyber criminal can’t steal it. But for the businesses who must collect dates of birth or those who still want to despite the risks, then the onus falls on these businesses to take reasonable steps to protect their customer data. In short, they need to proactively manage their cyber security to combat existing and emerging threats.

In the end, protecting customer data is critical for protecting your own business. The reputational harm to a business as the result of a data breach combined with downtime, loss of income, costs associated with containing the breach and possible penalties can be enough to send a company broke. Now that’s hell of a customer experience.