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As digitalisation accelerates throughout the world, it is no secret that we now live in a highly data driven world. Data is everywhere and it is impacting our ways of life. As soon as we interact with a digital device, data drives our minds.

For instance, whenever we open a streaming application, the rankings of elements on that platform are determined through data.

When a user logs onto Netflix, the platform first lists recently released shows and movies followed by several recommendations based on previously watched titles.

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Spotify follows a somewhat similar algorithm and lists songs based on previously streamed songs.

Social media applications too, track interaction with people and posts and a user is shown accounts of people they may know in real life and posts based on their browsing history.

Food delivery and online shopping applications tend to offer deals to customers based on their previous purchases.

The voice assistants in smartphones and other home devices have a tendency to store each and everything told to them.

Its no secret that a majority of digital applications store customers’ data in an effort to boost revenue and offer a better customer experience.

This has triggered fear all over the world since customer data is vulnerable to theft. Over the past years, there have been hundreds of instances of data leaks that threaten consumers on digital platforms.

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The data is usually used by companies to perform analytics and improve their business models but, when leaked, it becomes available to hackers who sell it on the deep or dark web.

This data includes emails, passwords, locations, addresses, contact numbers, past purchases, names of relatives and much more.

A leak of such details can put life of people and their close ones under threat.

In an effort to tackle this, a lot of applications have emerged that claim not to store user data. However, customer adaptation is quite slow.

This shows that either customers are not aware of the extent of the threat posed by stored data or they simply don’t care.

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Companies, on the other hand, have invested heavily in cybersecurity but data leaks from even large firms are common.

The main reason for this is that cybersecurity is a complex and diverse field.

It is also an evolving area that sees hundreds of new challenges each day.

There are many angles to cybersecurity that consists of encryption, cloud security, network security, application security and much more. Therefore, a large amount of workforce and expertise in this area is needed for a single company to protect its data.

Cybersecurity experts are small in number compared to software engineers, application developers and website managers.

A cybersecurity expert needs far more knowledge than an average computer scientist. In short, cybersecurity expertise is lacking as compared to its demand.

In addition, a lot of firms do not know how to set up cybersecurity infrastructure that best suits their business model.

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Additionally, software needed for cybersecurity infrastructure are some of the costliest. Big businesses spend as much as 10% of their annual budget solely on cyber security.

Therefore, protection of customer data entails massive expenditure which forces companies to spend whatever they can on cybersecurity but at times, that too proves to be insufficient.

As an alternate, the pioneers of internet introduced Web 3.0 that aimed to provide consumer safety and security while browsing however, it adopted few security risks from Web 2.0 and faced new security risks some of which cannot be tackled at present.

Web 3.0 brought new challenges and shift to it is not as quick as what was expected by companies. Similar to the metaverse, it’s a concept unknown to many.

Moreover, open source software is termed to be safe and research suggests the same. This is because the open source community corrects any vulnerabilities in the code soon after release.

Digital businesses and consumers have a long way to go to ensure strict data protection however, the need for which is rising with every passing day.

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

Omar Qureshi

The writer is a Senior Sub Editor at Business Recorder (Digital)


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