Facebook's data loss controversy has quickly grown out of control. Individuals with Facebook accounts were left wondering if their personal information is secure, and what additional third-party apps may have had access to it. Corporate and other data possessing organizations, on the other hand, may have their eyes glued to the stock price damage and reputational losses suffered by Facebook as this controversy increases, wondering how to keep their own firms out of those same undesirable scenarios.
While constant and repeated incidents of data loss can lead to fatigue, it's better to learn from these issues than to ignore them or become numb to the consequences.
There are many takeaways from Facebook's scandal could help your organization become more adept at data handling. Data security one of the most important issues facing any organization in 2018 and beyond. This need extends beyond the tech-focused service providers in Facebook's own industry, as nearly every company today stores or has access to sensitive data.
Surveying the damage
Trust is a powerful value in the world of technology companies. These organizations interact with consumers constantly and become part of their everyday lives. When individuals lose faith in their tech service providers, the consequences can add up. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg. The sheer size of the alleged data misuse in Facebook's case, combined with the social network's popularity, means the segment of the population with a possible grievance is massive.
The Associated Press reported that the possible number of people who had their data illicitly mined by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica has climbed to 87 million, based on the maximum number of individuals within reach of the data-appropriating app. It appears the exact number affected is impossible to discern at the moment. The previous estimate of affected users, made by the whistleblower who broke the scandal, was 50 million.
One of the most important lessons to take away from the Facebook controversy is what scrutiny and financial consequences can affect companies that are associated with ones accused of misusing data. Cambridge Analytica used an app to take more information than it was allowed, but Facebook's weak restrictions on app data access enabled the action. As a result, Facebook has come under intense scrutiny from politicians and consumers alike.
Embracing necessary change
The Facebook data privacy incident should spur a wave of self-reflection among companies that are responsible for any personal data collected from consumers or employees. This doesn't just encompass information that can be used to steal identities either - in the case of Cambridge Analytica's politically motivated ad targeting, it appears no consumers were at risk of financial losses or fraud. Considering the range of organizations that store data digitally these days, a similar controversy could cast a long shadow.
Every type of business must be aware of its risk factors and the possible reputation damage that could occur if the data in their company or associated companies is exposed. Being timid about securing data and taking half measures towards security could be harmful approaches in today's IT world. Companies that don't directly approach the need for data protection may end up letting their customers down. A loss of confidence in a few large tech companies could go beyond affecting those entities, potentially causing damage to the whole industry. It could be harder to get data for legitimate purposes if improper use becomes a common theme.
Protecting your data means being proactive about security and taking necessary measures to help secure your systems against a breach. Learn more about adopting a Data Breach Readiness plan can help your organization prepare for a breach.