13 simple ways to keep sensitive information secure

3rd August 2016
Nat Bowers


Office of National Statistics data pointing to an explosion in cybercrime highlights the need for more robust business processes and better guidance for consumers, according to digital payment security specialists Eckoh.

Tony Porter, Global Head of Communications, Eckoh, commented: “The vast majority of UK consumers are reasonably well educated about the risks of exposing their data, but there are also millions of consumers who assume that the convenience of making payments online or over the phone comes with levels of security that simply aren’t robust enough. We are publishing a draft digital health and safety guide to spell out the potential risks and encourage people to think twice before they speak to an agent, click or press send.”

Research shows that the average UK consumer, irrespective of age, is now accustomed to using several communications channels, including phone, text, social media, web self-service, messaging apps and more. Ease of use, in Eckoh’s view, can lull a consumer into a false sense of security. Research also shows that fewer than 20% of merchants have invested in secure payment technologies to prevent fraud; a figure that Eckoh believes could be much lower.

Porter said: “Enterprises talk extensively about putting their customers’ needs at the heart of their business and yet are seemingly happy to put their personal data at risk on a daily basis. The most public example of this is making customers speak their card data over the phone to anyone who can hear it, including the contact centre agent.”

Security standards vary hugely, but the evidence of security is often discreet or hidden. Barclays’ announcement that it is moving to voice authentication of customers as an alternative to passwords is an example of the trend towards the implementation of cutting edge telephone-based security which is led by banks and other financial institutions.

“It is conceivable that we might eventually see the death of the alphanumeric password. With IVR speech recognition systems validating identity and then serving the customer on the basis of voice commands. The advantages to both the customer and the provider are manifold. Better security based on unique identification and a way of completely avoiding traditional menu-based phone systems,” added Porter.

The wider picture on security away from the banks is less robust, with many businesses little more than digital colanders. Porter concluded: “Until businesses get their payment security processes up to date and properly protect customer data, consumers must remain vigilant and extremely careful about how they expose their personal data. Never assume that companies will protect it. Always look for the same level of validation that a company would expect from you."

Eckoh has also shared its draft of a digital health and safety guide for consumers to prompt debate about payment solutions and telephone-based security and help offset the risk of fraud:

13 simple ways to keep sensitive information secure

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