With inputs from Rakesh Hamsagar and Nikhil Jain
Mobile apps are one of the most influential platforms for customer-brand interaction in the digital age. Global consumers are downloading over 435,000 apps per minute, while an individual with a mobile device and internet access uses mobile applications on average for 4.2 hours every day. And for a good reason. Mobile apps offer customers convenience, functionality, and easy access to information, while enabling brands to design and shape how customers interact with them.
To provide a seamless and meaningful customer experience on such mobile apps, brands often collect personal information from the users. This sensitive information – such as location data, credit card details, history of past purchases, online browsing history, and access to camera and messages – is used to craft a personalised client experience. Consumer data provides your business with a tool to comprehend and serve customers’ needs, allowing you to better adapt your digital presence, products, or services to suit the current marketplace. However, it brings to the forefront questions about customer data security too.
Heightened focus on data security in mobile apps
Consumer awareness around data security and data privacy has increased due to recent data breaches across different industries. Consider just one example – last year, the personal data of almost 100 million users was exposed by 13 prominent Android apps. In 2022, data breaches are expected to be more frequent and expensive, and will likely be conducted on a larger scale. With increased use of mobile wallets and mobile payment networks, the focus is on mobile malware attacks, which are predicted to rise.
Acutely aware of the dangers posed by bugs and vulnerabilities in the mobile apps they use, customers are also becoming more careful about sharing data. Apart from ethical considerations, data breaches can result in negative brand experiences that can destroy a hard-won good reputation and reduce consumer trust. And in today’s competitive landscape, customer trust is a crucial factor in retaining clients and converting them into brand ambassadors. Simply put, a trusting customer base is a solid foundation that also improves brand recognition and boosts sales.
Steps to ensure protection of customer information
You need to build trust in customers with your data safeguarding measures. There are several ways to do so, such as:
1. Encrypting data
The customer data generated in a mobile app can reside in three places: on the customer’s device, in transit between the customer’s device and the brand’s servers, or on the brand’s servers. Ensure that customer data, no matter where it is, is encrypted for security. Companies should keep total control over the encryption keys and set encrypted data permissions to keep sensitive information safe from unauthorised users.Multi-factor authentication and mandatory periodic password changes are other best practices you can follow.
2. Adhering to regulations
Follow data compliance standards applicable in the geographies where you have a customer base. Legally mandated data protection standards offer useful guidelines for safely collecting, using, transmitting, and storing confidential data. To ensure that you know the state of your data at all times, it is ideal to construct a forensic data-level audit trail with a set number of years of history and set triggers for when data is erased.
3. Limiting access
Not every employee requires access to every piece of information you’re gathering. Plus, it is possible that all your staff doesn’t need the same level of access to the tools they use. When access to data is restricted, your company has fewer areas of vulnerability. By deploying event monitoring features in your system, you can use APIs and track every interaction to see who, when, and where is accessing vital company data.
4. Breaking down data silos
Data silos lead to different bits of data being frequently kept in separate locations. This can result in the storage of data in unapproved, unsecured applications. You can also lose track of where specific data is kept, and this might lead to data breaches not being identified. Consolidating company data into a cloud-based data warehouse or data lake, a central data repository designed for effective analysis, is the best approach to break down silos. In order to integrate data, scripting languages and cloud-based ETL (extract, transform, and load) are used. These tools gather data from different sources, convert it into a standard format for analysis, and then load the finished product into a data warehouse situated in the company’s data centre.
Build security into your mobile apps
There is an excellent opportunity for businesses to stand out from the competition by establishing a solid reputation for data security procedures. Think of data privacy and security as a competitive advantage that might be a key element of brand-building and business reputation, rather than just a risk management concern.
Not sure where to start? Let Salesforce Shield help you. Salesforce Shield allows you to monitor app and data use, encrypt sensitive data, maintain full control over encryption keys, automate security policies, and run compliance audits. A point-and-click tool, Salesforce Shield is easy to integrate into any app, letting you ensure comprehensive mobile app data security without breaking a sweat.