In the past couple of years, two trends have dominated the headlines when it comes to business technology: the proliferation of cloud-based computing, and the growing prevalence of cyber security breaches. Neither of these two concepts is truly foreign to internal IT teams or end-users, but they have started to gain traction in the media. As use of the cloud in business interactions becomes mainstream, an important technology trend for businesses going forward will revolve around the security that an organization is able to offer their customers who interact with them via cloud technology.
Computerworld’s recent article, “Forester’s top 10 predictions for business in 2016 – and what they mean for tech,” paint the picture of a successful business as being “customer-obsessed.” Businesses are adapting to their customer’s increased technological aptitude by weaving digital interactions into their customer experience and communication. Customers are able to engage with businesses instantly, on multiple devices, from their own homes and workplaces. Businesses that are able to make these interactions personal, efficient, and pleasing are going to be the ones gaining and retaining customers and media attention. This is simply the customer service element that has always been critical in the business equation, but amplified and with a digital twists that modern businesses need to assimilate with in the quickly evolving tech world.
Digitizing the Customer Experience
Cloud computing has contributed greatly to business efficiency in ways that range from utilizing cloud storage and remote hardware, to greatly expanding the accessibility and share-ability of data. Businesses are able to connect with customers on more devices, from more places, and more often. The cloud has also allowed for higher rates of connectivity for customers, further encouraging them to reach out with more inquiries or other feedback. As the general public becomes accustomed to the advantages of the cloud, the businesses that are able to offer a better experience in this space are reaping the competitive benefits: more applications, greater speed, and more transactions.
The more comfortable businesses and customers get with cloud computing, there is more associated personal, sensitive information accumulated in databases. We send our personal information to the cloud because of the reasons listed above, the “can it be done on my smartphone?” effect, as some have referred to it. Therefore, the cloud has amassed a greater amount and value of data, and a simultaneous attraction from hackers who would seek to intercept this data.
When instances of data breaches are as varied as major companies losing hundreds of thousands of customer’s personal and credit card information, to individuals’ files and pictures from their home computers being held for ransom, and even talks of government desiring access to personal communications – there is still a feeling of unease when it comes to utilizing cloud technologies. Feeling conflicted by their fear of losing personal information is weighed against the feeling of missing out on the benefits of cloud computing that they know are available to them.
Cloudy, With No Chance of Data Loss
The desired solution to this conflict is increased emphasis on securing cloud-based systems. Customers know what the cloud can do, and they like it. Now they are searching for peace of mind that comes from a company that assures them the security benefits within those conveniences. Successful businesses will anticipate this, and funnel resources into enforcing the security of their web applications and data centers, the parts of the cloud that impact customers most.
In addition, a business that can clearly and honestly convey these security benefits will garner the trust and preference of their customers more quickly. A company’s IT staff should be diligent at all times, whether to proactively identify potential security gaps, or to concisely explain the security they are providing. What are the back-up and recovery plans in the event of data loss? What is the health of the network at any moment? Who has access to personal data? When was the business’s software and hardware updated?
Despite the digitalization of customer interaction, the personal element of the customer experience has not been lost. Honesty, diligence, and consideration put in by businesses will earn loyalty and trust in their customers. This also applies to vendor relationships, such as those organizations with managed IT services. The same level of trust needs to be established between the business and their IT provider, there’s simply too much at stake to have anything less than 100% confidence in your IT infrastructure and individuals who are maintaining these systems.
If you’re interested in managed IT services that are skilled, honest and as passionate about your business activities as you are – we encourage you to consider the support options available from Continuous.