Why data security matters

Why data security matters

Words by Nishant Pitti

EaseMyTrip’s Nishant Pitti on why and how companies should protect their data in the new normal.

In the past six months, there has been a paradigm shift in the way businesses function. For most companies, either their business itself or the way their office functions has now shifted online. This digital shift has its pros and cons, but it is the need of the hour given the current scenario. In this new normal, cybersecurity has emerged as an area of utmost importance. It has become essential for organizations to use advanced data security systems to protect their sensitive data from getting attacked by hackers. Companies that do not protect their data can expose themselves to a world of data security risks- from data tampering and eavesdropping to data theft and unauthorized access to data rows.

In the travel & tourism industry, where data is critical to advertising, marketing, customer acquisition as well as product customisation, cases of data theft are increasing day by day. Our company, EaseMyTrip is a purely online platform and for that reason, data security has been an integral part of our organization since the beginning. So, here I use my accumulated knowledge to try and explain data security and share some simple steps for data protection.

So, what is data security?
Data security refers to the processes and technologies you use to protect data from unauthorized access or data corruption both intentional and unintentional. When it comes to data security the means for protection, incident detection and response has three common elements: people, processes, and technology. The actual techniques and technologies available however are numerous. Some of them are authentication, access control, data encryption, hashing and tokenization.

Why is it so important?
The data that your company creates, collects, stores and exchanges is a valuable asset. Whether your company needs to protect a brand, intellectual capital, or customer information, the need for safeguarding data from corruption and unauthorized access by internal or external people protects your company from financial loss, reputation damage, consumer confidence disintegration, and brand erosion. Therefore, with the growing threat of data breaches, data security in today’s business world is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. Organizations around the globe are investing heavily in data security to protect their critical assets and EaseMyTrip is no different.

In fact, for us this investment is imperative. A travel portal like ours, during the process of conducting our business and serving our customers, we become the repository and custodians of the confidential data of our customers who faithfully confide their private information with us. They have faith that their data is safe and secure with us which gives us a competitive edge. Data security is the cornerstone of our customer relationship and it is vital for us to keep our customers’ trust intact. Therefore, we are committed to protecting the security, secrecy and privacy of the data of our large customer base.

What are some simple steps to ensure your data is safe?
There cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution for data security. Companies will have to customise their data security measures depending on the way their business operates, the size of their organisation, their method of storing data, their customer base, and the types of technology they use. They should keep themselves abreast of emerging trends in data threats and security and need to have a data protection strategy and plan. For effective data protection, companies need to provide training in data security to all employees. They need to build an enterprise-wide, security-first mindset, encouraging employees to use strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, regular software updates, and device backups, by teaching them the value of these actions. Besides, organisations must also employ trained IT security staff.

Further relevant data security technologies like data masking, data encryption and data erasure should be utilized. EaseMyTrip takes the issue of data security very seriously and all our customer data and interactions are maintained under the most secured environment. We follow key management practices that protect data across all applications and platforms and also keep our systems updated with the latest technology. We ensure that any data flowing out of the system is encrypted via hashing to ensure protection from any possible hack. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, encryption is a way of scrambling digital data, software, hardware and hard drives, so that only authorized parties can understand the information. In simpler terms, encryption takes readable data and alters it so that it appears random, therefore rendering it unreadable to unauthorized users and hackers. Furthermore, our website is secured through Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Basically, SSL encrypts the link between our web server and a browser which ensures that all data passed between them remains private and free from attack.

Finally, in addition to maintaining appropriate checks on our end, we also ensure and enforce that all our partners maintain the highest standards when it comes to maintaining necessary privacy and data security.

These are just a few methods for achieving data security nirvana. Protecting your organization’s data shouldn’t be overwhelming or complex. The key is to start educating yourself on the latest security tactics and tricks and use some good old common sense. Also, use services or experts that make it understandable and easy and then take simple steps to control and protect your data according to your own comfort level.
Be safe!

About the author

Nishant Pitti is the Co-founder of EaseMyTrip, one of India’s leading online travel portals. His company provides hotel bookings, air tickets, holiday packages, and black-label services to its customers and last year achieved a turnover of over Rs. 4,000 crores. A wildly successful online business, EaseMyTrip has a database of over 9 million customers and over 15 million people visit the website monthly. Nishant has won many awards for his work in the travel technology industry including the Indian Achievers Awards, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Entrepreneur Magazine and also the prestigious TnH Award for being the Most Promising Entrepreneur in the travel industry.

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