Our deep dive into the digitized world has made security a hot button issue. In the wake of growing cyber incidents and data breaches, data security becomes more important than ever before. Data security is also a massive talking point because research shows that 64% of data breaches impact customer loyalty with consumers clearly showing that they are unlikely to do business with a company where their sensitive personal or financial data is not secure. 49% of consumers are even willing to take action against companies that suffer breaches of consumer data. 69% believe it is the company that is most responsible for protecting customer data.

Given the sheer volume of data in the PIM environment, it is logical for security to be a key focus area. So what can we do to make ensure this environment keeps all unwanted guests out without inconveniencing the home dwellers?

Consumer data protection

Regulators are constantly working towards building new regulations to protect consumer privacy and data. Such a focus has already sparked regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The legal environment is also becoming more complex and fragmented as countries such as the U.S continue to pass their own privacy laws mirroring GDPR.

In the wake of these regulations and rising concerns, it is essential to use PIM solutions that bake in the protection of consumer and corporate data as a core value. The product must have protective digital privacy measures to prevent unauthorized access, leaks or breaches. Using digital certificates such as SSL to encrypt information exchange between a web server and a web browser actively helps in keeping customer data secure.

We can also no longer view privacy and information security as opposing ideals as there are large areas of interdependencies between the two. Hence, the privacy and information security framework will need to complement each other organically to secure customer data and ensure privacy in the PIM universe.

Create a single source of truth

Creating a single source of truth is one of the advantages of using a robust PIM solution. Common product data problems include multiple data formats that could be located in several different places in different formats…think excel spreadsheets, brochures, etc. Managing these spreadsheets separately can be a time-intensive and error-prone task that can also leave your data vulnerable.

Pulling your data into one central repository by leveraging a comprehensive PIM solution could help solve this problem. Having all the product data in one location means you need to maintain and manage all your product information from just one location. With the right access controls and security firewalls in place, you can import/export, edit, and clean all the data from one place. While you will need to ensure that data is secure at all points, in transit and at work, the central repository makes security management that bit easier.

Robust master data management

In the data universe, not all data is created equal. So, just what data must be secured? To get this answer, you will need to cleanse your data and ensure that the data you are working with is accurate and up-to-date. You also need to ensure that data isn’t duplicated. This can be done by making sure that any record updated or created in any contributing system such as CRM, ERP, etc. gets reflected in the central repository. A dispersed and siloed data system increases the risk of security breaches.

Given the vast network of data contributors and data sources, PIM solutions must also ensure that the data is accessed only by approved individuals, groups or applications. User authorization, role-based access, clear access logs with audit trails, and timestamps are essential. These will help track and monitor requested, accessed, created or updated data trails. It is also essential to have rule-based processes and workflows that have the capability to flag insecure actions and raise proactive alerts.

All these critical aspects can be comprehensively managed by leveraging robust master data management strategies. For product and customer data security, it makes sense to have an MDM framework that can accelerate product information processes. This will help improve the customer experience and eCommerce performance. This will also enable easy vendor management by setting up the right roles, processes, workflows, and governance to drive efficiency and quality without compromising on data security in the distributor ecosystem.

Rapid shifts in technology, the growing sophistication of threats, increasingly rigorous regulatory landscape, and the explosion and spotlight on data and its importance are some of the key reasons for security occupying center stage. In fact, security is the final frontier. Clearly, security and trust cannot exist exclusive of each other. Today, a lapse in security can prove devastating to an organization’s reputation and obviously, it’s bottom-line.

The writing is on the wall. There’s no longer any doubt that security will determine the success or downfall of any enterprise digital strategy in today’s cyber-seeped world.