JULY 7, 2021
9 min read
For starters, what’s meant by Big Techs? The term refers to the companies that have scaled their business with the help of the web. In some may, these giants have succeeded in disrupting the market with their game-changing offers and keep valuable, lucrative, and innovative. Usually, they started on a free basis, which lures a great number of users to their services. Then they could move to the subscription model and build the community around their products. Logically, the second question is who belongs to this list of lucky ones. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are five fingers of the Big Tech’s palm. Aren’t you surprised?
The point is that even such reputable companies, which primarily focus their processes on the Internet, can’t ensure the 100% sacredness of sensitive data. In parallel with their development, there appears the flourishing of data thefts and leakage cases. Consequently, there’s always a place for improvement, even and especially for these 5 big tech companies. Cloud computing adds fuel to the fire as the online stored and identifying information is prone to greater accessibility and more digital fraud attacks. Meanwhile, 97% of companies are continually investing in big data, claiming it to be the inevitable must-have for business growth, market recognition, and better sales. As a result, big data analytics is expected to make $103bn by 2023.
It entails that Big Techs, together with the smaller enterprises, can’t rid themselves of web dependence, so the only thing left is to implement the unceasing work on strengthening the data security standards and implementing the freshest anti-fraud policies. And that’s is the educational focus of this article, so follow us to give your best shot in data protection!
What Are the Big Techs Usually Blamed For?
Though sensitive data collection is a significant part of the companies’ service amelioration, customers aren’t too happy about the privacy intervention. Specifically, 72% of American consumers report their overwhelming feeling of being tracked by tech companies and advertisers while executing online activities or just using their phones. The majority of them express a lack of control over these actions, but the personal security measures are never dismissed, right? In fact, only 36% of the US adults confessed to never reading the company’s privacy terms before the agreement to them.
Nevertheless, all fault is placed on organizations and governments. In particular, tech firms are often accused of squelching competition in the market and, in this way, affecting the users’ behavior and purchase decisions. From the economic perspective, it’s partially true as the big tech leaders are naturally put under conditions leading either to the giant’s acquisition of the smaller enterprises, like Facebook’s absorption of WhatsApp and Instagram, or some sort of the power partnership between them. Meanwhile, business merges also benefit users with a richer range of functions and their intrinsic location within one platform. So, isn’t it so terrible after all? Especially since the problem isn’t exactly with Big Techs! It spreads to the much smaller companies with similar business goals and data tracking tools. So, not to evoke the huge wave of customers’ dissatisfaction, make sure your privacy policies fully and transparently disclose your information treatment, instruct your third-party sellers to comply with the set security standards, and implement the best possible data protection measures to keep your users’ data safe.
Besides, Big Techs are blamed for the surveillance capitalism, the extreme penetration into individuals’ sensitive information. In social terms, such secret data governance is a severe violation of customers’ privacy rights. But let’s think it over once again — do the big tech companies only deal with this? No indeed! Thus, the question is only how to prevent it from becoming manipulative, and we’ll get it straight in a section. Be patient for a while!
Are Big Techs So Good At Users’ Personal Data Protection?
You’re already familiar with the 5 Big Techs that are still in the limelight, but what their perception will be if objectively evaluating their data security standards in 2021. Dare to look at the dark side beneath the companies’ names? Go ahead!
This e-commerce behemoth can access your order history, credit card details, and even your health data. Do you consider it allowable? According to the latest findings, the company puts its growth higher over the data security of its customers. For instance, automatization of data access and system control still faces budget cuts. And if considering the size of Amazon’s userbase, this insufficient security compliance opens the gate to further data thefts.
Despite the platform’s confidence in data security, things are a little hectic around opposing the attacks against its flagship browser — Chrome. In 2021, the global tech provider continues overcoming the related issues, and recently, there occurred the sixth series of software bugs for this year. Have you imagined this while thinking about Google? Malicious hackers show no mercy!
You may say that Facebook doesn’t learn from its mistakes when hearing that the 2019’s personal data attack hasn’t resulted in the company’s conscious improvement of data protection mechanisms. And here we go again — 2021 proved Facebook’s flop as now over 500m of social media users crop up as the private data violation victims. Their bio, emails, and locations, and even phone numbers can now be in the wrongdoer’s hands! For a company of such size, this enormous data leakage can hardly be forgivable!
Sometimes the failure takes place not within the corporation itself but at its periphery. However, it still tarnishes the company’s reputation, and that’s what recently happened to Microsoft because of one of its customer service agents’ breaking. The hacking attack was blocked halfway, turning it to be just a failed attempt, which is good for Microsoft. The company has informed their customers to alter their log-in data and restrict sharing the billing information with third parties. This time, they’re safe and sound, but what would be if Microsoft had overlooked the hazard?
Ransomware isn’t only a bane of small and unprotected businesses, and the fresh attack on Apple’s supplier, Quanta, testifies that big tech giants can also suffer from this type of fraud. The Russian REvil group is currently called out to the response, but Quanta’s servers are already set down after the network’s infiltration. While the extent of damage is now under question, one conclusion is undeniable — no one is safe from sensitive data stealing, so undervaluing the problem is the major stumbling block.
What Not to Do: Key Companies’ Errors in Data Security
Sometimes the best policy is to dig into the tech leaders’ experience and come up with the appropriate data security strategy by means of reverse psychology. Thus, let’s learn what can prevent you from protecting tons of sensitive data:
1. Lack of systematic data classification
If you’re truly concerned with data security, start with its categorization: which one should be protected above all and what technical controls should exactly be used for this. Besides, the education of users is another important measure here as the responsibility is divided. Explain to your customers how to keep their sensitive data safe and go on with the regular reminders on this issue. Consolidate two centers of power to gain on it!
2. Wrong sequence of security measures
The next after data categorization is choosing the right encryption strategy and managing its flow effectively. Turn it on before the users’ sensitive data can be shared anywhere or will be stored in the cloud. The order of these steps is crucial if you aspire to implement rigid data control from the very beginning.
3. Taking wrong responsibility
Don’t overload the business owner with the data security issues and better hire the experienced tech expert to cope with this pool of responsibilities. As a result, it’ll be a win-win situation as your whole staff would be trained to deal with the data protection and you’ll be advised on the suitable security technology right for your product/service: NFC, TouchID, QR codes, EMV chips, etc.
4. Overrelying on the chosen technology
Once the technology is selected, don’t hurry up to let your guard down! No matter how advanced it is, your constant vigilance is required not to become the victim of hacking. Instead, build a team that will be responsible for regular check-ups and upgrading your data security strategy accordingly.
5. Undervaluing vulnerabilities
The anticipation of software and hardware weaknesses is the key to keeping your alert and avoiding digital fraud risks. Make your endpoints less vulnerable and easy to get: the data like proxy can be used for further password cracking activity, so don’t underrate the significance of shielding it from fraudsters’ hands.
6. Extreme confidence in IT systems’ smoothness
In addition to the manual security quality checks, another wise action is to set up the uninterrupted auditing of the whole IT environment. The bigger network of users (and their sensitive data) you’ve got, the more sense it makes. Root-cause analysis and access to real-time data will turn your IT infrastructure more solid and resilient to fraudulent attacks.
7. Considering cloud storage as a solution
Being part of the cloud, such as Google, Dropbox, or any other, you both conveniently store the sensitive data and put it at risk. And though it isn’t the reason for abandoning cloud computing, the preliminary examination of storage’s ins and outs and expert consulting are highly desired to keep your restricted and private information under lock and key.
8. Absence of additional security layers for the cloud data
In case you decide to rely on the cloud, do it smart! Obligatorily add additional layers of security to your service. Tracking, content controls, profound analytics to files, and other forms of protection work for the common aim — to preclude unauthorized access to your data and its leakage.
9. Little attention to social engineering
Protecting your IT system isn’t sufficient for the company’s well-being as the practice shows that people are easier to be hacked. That’s why both your teammates and your customers should be instructed how to act in case of receiving a suspicious email or responding to calls from unknown or fake addressers. Come up with the clear-cut procedure against fishy data retrieving and follow it carefully!
10. One-way thinking on IT security
And the last but not least step is to combine all the previous recommendations into one working data handling strategy. Don’t limit yourself to the tunnel vision of information security! Instead, act holistically, which means scrutiny on all the levels: data generation, transmission, storage, and further access (to whom it’s entrusted). Be on the lookout at any of these stages!
Who Governs the Regulation over Users’ Data Security?
Do you have an impression that there’s too much to account for? You aren’t alone in this fight! Get acquainted with the regulatory guidelines that supervise the data protection quality on a global scale and will work for you as the reference point to start with:
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It aims to protect the privacy of the EU citizens and businesses’ compliance with data usage, technical security standards, and organizational restrictions.
- National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020. As AI brings the new disruption trend to contemporary businesses, this new act intends to grasp the control of AI research and development to protect users’ sensitive data.
- Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction Act (DETOUR). It puts the legal obstacles for businesses to design misleading user interfaces that provide little/too confusing notice on the company’s data usage policies.
- Data Accountability and Transparency Act of 2020. In logical sequence to the former, this protocol aspires to put an end to the intrusive data gathering and make the big tech companies accountable for their actions.
- The Data Breach Guide by The Federal Trade Commission. In case the data violation has already happened, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All basic steps are already prescribed for you! Among the major ones, there are securing the ongoing operations, fixing the identified drawbacks, and establishing a well-thought communication plan with all the involved parties.
Final Sum Up on Big Techs’ Data Security
Nothing matters more than the systematic and holistic approach! First, account for your business specifics and pick up the educational bits from the industry leaders’ experts. Second, examine the international regulatory guidelines and move to your specific geo-location requirements. And third, end up with your data protection strategy through the relevant data security technology and users’ and staff’s instruction on it. It’s never easy, but there’s no other way to be both tech smart and secure, whatever your company’s size is. Get DashDevs’ consulting on data security for your product or better order the specific tech solution to be developed personally for you!