Dear Santa, Please Keep My Customer Data Safe This Year

By Lucas Long

The biggest shopping season of the year is just around the corner. Consumers spent more than $4 billion on Black Friday last year, while Cyber Monday posted a record $3 billion in sales.

As we head into the holiday shopping season, news about large data breaches, such as Yahoo reporting 500 million of its user accounts stolen, continues to make headlines. Concern about potential security breaches has companies eyeing their E-commerce systems to make sure they are doing all they can to keep customer data safe.

As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, our company works with top brands to help them assure they are collecting quality data properly and securely.

There are thousands of marketing tags now in use to track customer behavior. Almost every marketing tag collects visitor information in some shape or form, raising privacy and security concerns. It’s essential companies make sure no visitor data is collected unknowingly, keeping customer trust intact and avoiding legal concerns.

Here are three things companies need to know to keep customer data safe:

  • Perform regular audits of platforms that are collecting data on your website and don’t keep around code you no longer use, as this opens you up to potential data leakage.
  • Monitor what data is being collected on your website, so you can be alerted if platforms start collecting data they shouldn’t be (or stop collecting data, which will pose reporting issues down the road!)
  • Put tag governance processes in place. This includes documentation of all data-collecting platforms, monitoring and strict user-access roles.


Your Company Data: To Share or Not to Share?

When it comes to sharing your own company’s data, you have options. For example, Google Analytics gives you three options: you can opt not to share your data, share data with Google only to help it improve its products, or share your data anonymously for benchmarking. While the data is protected and privatized no matter what, here’s a breakdown of what each option means:

  • If you opt out of data sharing, your data will remain within Google Analytics and will not be shared with other products or services.
  • If you decide to share your data with Google, it will be used to improve its products and services.
  • If you decide to share your data anonymously with others, it will be blended with other data to support Google Analytics’ benchmarking feature.

No matter which option you choose, your data is protected by multiple layers of defense, including advanced security, firewalling and routing to keep data secure.


Time for an Update?

As your company gets ready for the high traffic volume of holiday shopping, take a moment to review your marketing platforms by asking the following questions:

  • What tool(s) do you currently use?
  • How long has your company had each one in place?
  • Who owns the platform within your company?
  • Do you know who originally set up the architecture and tracking for each marketing and analytics tool?
  • Is there documentation outlining what the tool is tracking and why?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, chances are your company has some auditing to do. Each tool that collects visitor data should be regularly reviewed, updated and constantly monitored with alerting tools that will notify you if something is amiss.

With these tips on your side, you’ll stop any potential data thieves in their tracks!

About Lucas Long

Lucas Long is Tag Inspector Product Manager for InfoTrust, a Cincinnati-based marketing technology company devoted to making marketers happy with stress-free analytics.

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