The State of Cloud Security: How Businesses Can Win Trust with Customers

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Read more about author Rohan Sathe.

People today are often rightfully skeptical about sharing their information with companies and service providers. Large-scale data breaches, like the recent exposure of the personal data of 533 million Facebook users, can quickly disillusion consumers and tarnish brand trust. Nevertheless, consumers are required to hand over their personal information each time they sign up for a service.

The increased use of cloud platforms over the last two years has created a new headache for businesses. While cloud platforms enable efficient, collaborative remote work, they also require a reevaluation of security protocols. Tools like Slack, Google Workspace, or Atlassian may not be compliant with industry regulations right out of the box. By taking proactive measures to improve SaaS and cloud security, businesses can prevent data breaches and win the trust of their customers.

Consumers Are Skeptical About Trusting Businesses with Their Personal Information

People are often asked to hand over their personal information practically on a daily basis. Every time we browse social media, download an app, or sign up for a newsletter, we agree to disclose personal information about ourselves to brands. Yet, few people believe that these companies are equipped to keep that information secure. 

A recent State of Consumer Privacy Survey found that only 21% of respondents trust established, global brands to securely store their personal information. When you dig into the data, the lack of trust is clear across all industries. According to a survey by McKinsey, health care and financial services companies earned the highest trust scores at 44%. But, for consumer goods, media, and entertainment companies, only about 10% of customers trust their data will be kept secure. 

This distrust of businesses has financial repercussions. The aforementioned McKinsey survey found that “the great majority of respondents—87 percent—said they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices. Seventy-one percent said they would stop doing business with a company if it gave away sensitive data without permission.” 

It’s no secret that a data breach is costly for businesses. For a company with fewer than 500 employees, a data leak costs roughly $7.5 million per incident; on top of that, a company can expect to lose up to 20% of its customer base, virtually overnight. It’s no wonder that 60% of small businesses that are the victims of a cyber attack go out of business within six months. 

Regulations Are Changing to Encourage Better Data Security 

In recent years, a number of data regulations have been passed to encourage brands to take consumer privacy and data security more seriously. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. have far-reaching implications for brands seeking to work with customer information. 

Enforcing federal and international regulations has helped health care and financial services industries achieve higher trust ratings among customers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) govern the use of personal health information (PHI) and consumer financial privacy, respectively. The GLBA is more prescriptive than HIPAA, which requires health organizations to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI. These regulations require companies in these industries to take advanced measures to protect financial and health records.

Adopt Cloud Services and Invest in Innovative Cloud Security Solutions 

As more companies move to the cloud, the need for cloud security solutions also grows. Companies that handle customer information must have standardized procedures. 

Slack, Google Workspace, and other cloud solutions tend to come with preconfigured security protocols. However, these out-of-the-box configurations may not meet HIPAA and GLBA standards. 

Likewise, it’s often manual error and insider threats that put customer data at risk. Data exposure from insider activity can occur in any SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS environment, which is where cloud data loss prevention tools play a crucial role. Cloud data loss prevention programs will scan and audit data to detect and encrypt PII and other valuable information shared across cloud environments. And, while legacy DLP tools are often seen as complex to deploy and difficult to manage, the next generation of cloud DLP integrates directly via API – meaning that users are typically up and running within a few minutes.

Companies can begin to meet customer expectations and win customer trust by proactively communicating security incidents, preventing data breaches, and promoting their privacy measures. Start with abiding by regulations and recommended guidelines for your industry and invest in technology to help scale your cloud security program. Companies that can undo skepticism and regain trust with their customers will undoubtedly be the brands that win mindshare and market share.

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