Privacy concerns and the cloud

In this age of big data, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of the opportunities that real-time analysis and insights can provide insurers. Yet, for all these benefits, the elephant in the room remains the issue of privacy and what should be done to safeguard sensitive information. Kelly Preston, data analytics manager at SilverBridge, takes a closer look.

One only needs to consider the consequences of a breach where customer data is compromised. This will negatively impact the brand of the insurer. And, if the breach is significant enough, there might not be a path to recovery resulting in the company being forced to close its doors. Even if there is only a minor breach, the blow to customer confidence could see some of them moving to a competitor as a matter of course.

Addressing internal issues

So, is it all doom and gloom for insurers in this environment? Certainly not.

However, it does require executives to take a considered look at how they approach their existing data management strategies and processes. Is security an integral part of it? How about accessibility? After all, in an environment where more employees have access to internal information, the risk of that data being compromised also increases.

A detailed data audit inside the insurer has the benefit of providing insights into areas that need to be strengthened and the extent at which compliance requirements are adhered to.

This also has the potential to help guide the insurer into customising its data protection approach to be more cognisant of the different elements between on-premise solutions and virtual ones. Examining data sovereignty and how easy it is to move data between cloud service providers should be a vital element of any business strategy. Similarly, who is responsible when the worst case happens and that data is compromised? What recourse does the insurer have and how is the value of the data estimated?

From this, there are significant privacy concerns to take note of when it comes to the cloud (and on-premise solutions for that matter). However, these are not insurmountable. Decision-makers need to examine their organisational strategies, how data is protected, and how data is used to really show customers the benefits of sharing their personal information.

Custom, tailored solutions should be at the forefront of demonstrating the advantages of data sharing.