[Column] Daniel Wolman: Cybersecurity vs customer trust - an inseparable duo in a digital economy
The digital age has ushered in a new era of the customer experience, where data has become a valuable currency. However, this currency is also coveted by cyber criminals who are constantly seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in the ever-expanding digital marketplace.
According to Daniel Wolman Chief Data Officer at Rentoza, to thrive in this dynamic environment, businesses must adopt a holistic approach to safeguarding digital platforms while also protecting the customer experience.
“What you need is continuous evaluation, reinforcement, and adaptability of security measures along the entire online customer journey. But this comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities, especially when you not only seek robust cyber security but also need to nurture customer trust.”
The criticality of cyber security in the digital marketplace
Wolman says the digital marketplace has redefined the way we conduct business, interact with customers, and store sensitive information. In this context, he believes cyber security is not just a critical component; it is the bedrock of business resilience.
“As our reliance on digital technologies and the internet deepens, so do the risks associated with cyberattacks. Today, it's not a matter of if, but when, a business will face a cyber threat,” says Wolman.
For fast-growing ecommerce businesses like Rentoza, Wolman says cyber security is an unwavering priority. For Rentoza, he says identity and payment fraud, theft of personal information, and phishing attempts are some of the most prevalent risks the business encounters.
“We recognise that technology is advancing rapidly, and with it, the ingenuity of those who seek to exploit vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are constantly devising new tactics, making it essential to stay ahead of the curve.”
Protecting customer data to build trust
Building trust with customers is a core tenet of any business, and the protection of customer data is a fundamental aspect of earning and maintaining this trust. Wolman says Rentoza operates on the premise that trust is a two-way street. “Customers trust us with their data, and in return, we ensure that data is handled with the utmost care and transparency.”
For him, transparency is the linchpin of this trust-building process. “Whether it's before, during, or after a purchase, we strive to provide clear and comprehensible information about our data handling practices.”
Evolving customer expectations
The digital landscape has witnessed a profound shift in customer expectations regarding cyber security. Privacy regulations like POPIA, GDPR, and CPPA, high-profile data breaches, and the evolving landscape of technology have thrust privacy and security into the public eye. Consequently, Wolman says consumers are increasingly aware of their rights and the potential risks associated with sharing personal information.
“It reflects an evolving digital maturity and a growing sense of responsibility among customers. They now expect nothing short of flawless security and anticipate that we will protect their data.”
Balancing customer experience and robust security
For Wolman, providing a seamless and personalised online customer experience is paramount. To strike a balance between offering a seamless customer experience and robust security, he says Rentoza has invested significantly in its customer service team.
“Our growing team of local agents operates from our offices, offering customers a first-hand view of our security practices. They are not only well-informed about our transactions but are also trained to address security concerns.”
This approach empowers the customer service agents to respond to queries with confidence and provides customers with peace of mind, knowing that their interactions with our platform are secure.
Educating customers on best practices
Wolman firmly believes that empowering customer knowledge is the best way to strengthen their experience. “Complex legal and regulatory jargon often creates barriers to understanding. So, we've made it a point to simplify our documentation, ensuring that our customers can comprehend our data handling and security protocols,” says Wolman.
According to him, a significant portion of Rentoza’s customer queries revolve around gaining peace of mind. “We engage with our customers, whether through phone calls, live chats, or various digital channels, to provide them with the information and clarity they seek. By doing so, we contribute to a better-informed customer base that can take proactive steps to protect their online security.
Transparency and collaboration
For Wolman, transparency is not just a buzzword; it's a core value in the fight against cyber threats. Wolman says businesses should embrace criticism and welcome feedback from customers, stakeholders, and the broader industry.
“Open dialogue and constructive collaboration are essential to ensuring the safety and security of our customers' data.”
Beyond that, he says Rentoza is pioneering a hacker bounty programme, inviting ethical hackers to test the company’s security measures. This programme will help solidify Rentoza’s commitment to continually improving their cyber security, as they recognise that the collective goal should be a safe and secure digital environment.
“In the ever-evolving digital landscape, cyber security and customer trust are intrinsically linked. I urge all businesses to prioritise robust security measures while fostering trust with their customers. If you can do that, you will be better equipped to thrive.”