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Not only securing data, MSMEs must find efficient ways to collect, store, use it cost effectively

As businesses’ most valuable asset, the ‘data’ must be accessible, protected and recoverable. (Image: Reuters)
  • By Rakesh Soni

Technology for MSMEs: In the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of data businesses store and use as they grow. Newer technologies have made it possible for businesses to process a significant volume of data to make decisions about almost everything that relates to their businesses. As the amount of data within a business grows, so does the challenges of safeguarding and managing it. It is evident that better data management resulted in improved decision making of 34 per cent of organizations.

For smaller organizations, effective data management isn’t limited to information security but to data lifecycle management, employee education and other efforts too. According to a survey report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, 48 per cent SMBs this year have seen instances of a data breach in their businesses (up from 46 per cent in 2018). Knowing data is the most powerful resource for small organizations, it can be at enormous risks when left unprotected or vulnerable. Not to mention the significant and lasting decrease in customer trust.

For small organizations, setting up intelligent data management practices is particularly important to stay ahead of the game. Cybercriminals are more bound to target small scale organizations. Also, it will be less likely for smaller firms to recuperate from the awful monetary losses of cybersecurity accident. Considering this, smaller organizations need to have more robust data management practices.

We live in an era where data is the most valuable commodity in the world. However, where there is value, there is also a risk. Following are some key data management practices every small-scale organization should follow:

Invest in the right technology

As businesses’ most valuable asset, the ‘data’ must be accessible, protected and recoverable. Migration to the cloud enables organizations to be flexible, dynamic and fast, allowing them to be more prompt to meet customer demands. Cloud-based data infrastructure is a boon for small organizations uniquely as it enables them to be low-risk and cost-effective in addition to enhancing the customer experience. Not only this, it provides a safer and secure alternative to store data while giving global access to it. Instead of purchasing an on-site solution, small organizations could think cloud solutions first.

Centralized data storage

Small businesses should be able to process high volumes of customer data so that crucial data is accessible to the concerned people whenever they need it. Ventures consistently encounter the challenge of creating, gathering and managing something valuable from the data. Furthermore, a multitude of devices and platforms and the never decreasing cost of storage have compounded the obstacle of the administration and deletion of old data. The amount of unstructured and organized data that is being gathered has transformed customer data management into a tricky goal. Migration to the cloud is an efficient alternative to this. SaaS cloud solutions are inexpensive for startups or any growing business needing to pay a monthly fee per user basis. SaaS solutions are deployed easily in no time, without any infrastructure, operational overheads or maintenance. No more emailing or sharing of data but a centralized storage system. Think of Dropbox or Google Drive as examples.

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Data recovery and backups

Data storage creates inevitable risks. One minor processing blunder or wrong judgment can lead to massive information breach or regulatory noncompliance, which is profoundly noteworthy when we talk about small organizations. However, data breaches are plausible for big organizations as much as they are for small ones as long as the customer data is stored on company-controlled servers. To avoid these, it’s imperative to treat data as a corporate asset and therefore design a strategy to improve the ways they acquire, store, manage and use data in a centralized location. Startups can achieve this through a partnership with a trusted cloud-based SaaS service (such as customer identity management software as a service) that caters and fulfills their needs by eliminating the risks of data loss and actively backing up the data. Besides this, small organizations could purchase an economic anti-malware programme. Use multi-factor authentication and risk-based authentication to ensure that customers get the right level of security while preserving a simple online experience and safeguard critical business and customer data.

Enhance customer experience

Frictionless customer experience is crucial to driving growth in the age of digital disruption. Customers expect companies to give them better service the longer they interact with them, personalizing communications to fit everything they know about the customer. But when companies don’t leverage data between channels, they look forgetful, incompetent, or even callous. If small businesses want to understand their customers’ expectations and needs, data collection is a massive help.  By gathering information like customer behaviour, criticisms and reviews along with their demography, small businesses can alter their digital presence in a way that aligns better with the marketing place. It lets them enhance customer experience on a personalized level and deliver delight by creating upsell and cross-sell to customers, increasing revenue significantly.

Cybersecurity strategy

Safeguarding customer data is a momentous and complex responsibility. Regulations are changing all the time, and hackers are getting smarter. Non-cloud solutions can become vulnerable if they aren’t upgraded regularly. Small businesses are more vulnerable to cybercrime since their data is located on company-controlled servers. Small companies that experience a breach can face financial losses and lose invaluable customer trust. Securing your employee and customer data needs a proactive and holistic cybersecurity stance against dangerous security threats. A data solution in the cloud environment takes full responsibility for your customer data security and considers the latest developments for compliance and safety. The data is always encrypted in transit and at rest to provide the highest level of security.

(Rakesh Soni is the CEO & Co-Founder at LoginRadius. Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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Source: Financial Express