You should prepare for the next mega data breach

As of September 2018, it’s been one year since the historical Equifax mega data breach that impacted nearly half of all consumers in the U.S. Since this monumental invasion of personal data, fraudsters have shown little to no notion of slowing down as evident by the continued emergence of additional data breaches. In fact, within the past year alone, nearly 30 percent of U.S. consumers have been notified of a breach impacting their own personal information, which represents a 12 percent increase since 2016.

In the wake of these widespread data breaches, many organizations have quickly increased their cybersecurity spend and embraced new identity protection protocols to protect their customers’ information. The challenge with this approach is that while technology has historically moved and evolved rapidly to support changes in business and consumer demands, the security protocols surrounding it have had difficulty keeping pace.

Credit freezes are not the panacea

While many businesses have begun to implement comprehensive identity protection services to secure customers’ personal information, they also need to ensure they are leveraging the most robust security offerings. Although customers often turn to their service provider as the first line of defense if they believe their personal information has been compromised or if they are victims of identity fraud, there are times when they will try to manage such an incident on their own. Resolving an identity crime can easily take anywhere from 30 to over 600 hours depending on the depth of fraud.

Compacted by new U.S. legislation that provides consumers with free credit freezes, there is also further consumer confusion on what you really need to do to protect yourself. Credit freezes alone aren’t enough as they can help protect against new accounts opened in your name – which is actually one of the rarest types of identity theft out there, affecting only four percent of victims. Clearly, if you aren’t providing an effective, comprehensive, and timely security response to digital identity theft and fraud, your customers may take their business elsewhere as awareness is growing with the ubiquity of data breaches.

Identity protection matters to your customers

In order to secure consumer information as fraudsters continue to leverage new forms of technology, advancements around cyber and identity protection need to be engrained as part of the ongoing strategic corporate vision. But how? With a 392 percent increase in data breaches over the past decade, there’s no time to waste in identifying and incorporating the changes that need to be made.

The goal in taking advantage of new approaches and technologies to better serve customers should also involve ensuring that the latest innovations support and improve security and compliance. Not only will this assist in managing a well-rounded company image, but it has been proven that upon offering a service like identity theft protection, customer retention rises. Case in point: one study underscores that 97 percent of new account holders who adopt identity protection offerings remain a customer.

Secure today, secure tomorrow with digital identity theft protection

When it comes to comprehensive offerings, consumers want services that can be customized based on their specific needs. This allows for the unique wants and needs of both customers and the business to be met while ensuring the right security measures. The technology leveraged for these processes should be easy-to-use, allowing for customers to intuitively navigate the capabilities from their computer, smartphone, or other electronic device quickly. Most importantly, the services also need to be highly flexible in order to grow and evolve as the factors impacting business and customers continually pivot.

Speaking of flexibility, in today’s highly-connected world, there are constant updates to the technology customer’s use. From identity protection to other cybersecurity solutions, all comprehensive services should keep up with emerging technologies so that customers feel their information is safe and still viewed as important by their providers.

Providing these robust security offerings clearly brings advantages to consumers, but also positively impacts the business by providing an added touch point to communicate with customers. These points of contact allow for the business to continuously remind the customer just how valued they are by their financial provider, but also all that is being done to ensure the safety of their personal information. These frequent status updates can be executed in a number of ways from email, to app notification, to a text message.

Not only do these capabilities showcase the fact that these businesses care for their customers, but it also gives them the opportunity to offer white-glove resolution and recovery services if and when an identity crime does occur (and collapsing the massive amount of time customers themselves need to spend doing paperwork, making phone calls, providing validation, and much more). By offering these capabilities to customers, your company will be able to reinforce tangible value, which can fuel increased loyalty and decrease attrition.

At the end of the day, no one can argue the value of putting additional security measures in place to protect today’s consumers and businesses. With fraudsters gaining access to the same level of technology driving the next big innovation to disrupt our lives, the question is not “if,” but “when” the next big data breach will hit. Take the right measures today and tomorrow with the services and solutions your customers need to protect what matters most.