Feb 22

Infamous Data Fails and Security Breaches: How to Avoid Suffering One

Data fails and security breaches are a huge risk now for companies all over the world. If we want to see how big an impact they can have then we just need to look at some of the most infamous examples from recent years.


A hugely embarrassing mistake by this online retailer led to real customer data being used to test out a new website in 2016. The issue came to light when some customers received strange text messages about online surveys.

The company had used up to 800,000 real names, addresses and contact details in a way that was highly damaging to their reputation. Thankfully, no credit card data was used but there is no doubt that a lot of customers were left upset by having their details used in this way.


A huge problem hit TalkTalk at the end of 2015 when they had to try and work out how many of their customer records had been hacked in a cyber-attack. At first, it was believed that up to 4 million customers could have been affected, although the eventual confirmed figure was a lot lower.

This was one of several times that hackers had breached cyber security at TalkTalk in the course of a year. The publicity around this attack brought the issue of online data breaches to the attention of the public in general.


Currently, the biggest data fails in history belong to Yahoo. It was in 2016 that they disclosed two massive security breaches, although they had both happened a few years earlier.

Their 2013 problem affected a massive 1 billion user accounts, while a 2014 breach compromised around 500 million people. Apart from the numbers, the 2013 attack was also worse due to the fact that hackers got access to every piece of information relating to the users in question.


While all customer data has to be protected and maintained, it is clear that some information is more sensitive than others. Normally we think about bank accounts and credit cards as being among the most important data to look after but the FriendFinder data fail showed us another side to this matter.

The dating site was attacked in 2016 and user details soon made it online. The problem was made worse by the fact that the majority of the site’s passwords were poorly protected with weak passwords.

How to Avoid Joining this List

As we have seen from this list, data fails and security breaches can have terrible effects for the company and for the client. Therefore, protecting the client data has to be one of the top priorities in any business.

A smart way to get started is by using data cleansing software to get a clean and easily readable database. This makes it easier to maintain and cuts out the risk of duplicate customers or out of data information.

After this, a strong cyber security policy is needed, with robust controls and passwords that can’t be easily cracked. Poor staff training can also lead to problems in this respect. It is vital that all members of staff understand the importance of the data they use and keep their PCs clean, as well as knowing their responsibilities.

Get started on keeping your customer data safe and under control by giving our data matching software a try.


Feb 16

How Data Cleansing Software Can Stop You from Losing Sales

You might already know that data cleansing software offers a smart way of making sure that your existing client base is kept well under control.

However, have you ever stopped to think that poor quality data could be losing you valuable new sales? If not, then now is the time to see what benefits you could gain from having cleaner and more relevant data on file.

Don’t Annoy Your Potential Clients

There are few things more likely to put off a new client than calling them by the wrong name or using the wrong contact details for them. How can you expect them to trust you with their business if you can’t even get the basics right?

Your leads database should be as up to date and under control as the database where you hold the details of your existing customers. This means carrying out a process of deduplication to ensure that you don’t have duplicates leads for the same person or contact details that are long out of date.

Of course, if you don’t use data cleansing software to keep your leads database well managed then you run the risk of simply never hearing back from the people you contact. In this way, you won’t even know who has received your offer and who hasn’t.

Don’t Forget Who Is Already a Client

How embarrassing would it be if you were to send out a proposal to an existing client that you didn’t realise already had an account with you? This could be especially disastrous if you offer them a better rate or improved service than they currently get.

This is an easy mistake to make when you have an unwieldy and confusing database. Maybe someone in your team set them up as a new client without removing or updating the lead details at the same time?

There are a number of reasons you could end up in this situation but using data cleansing software that you trust is the simple way to resolve it and feel totally in control of your data once again.

Don’t Make Them the Wrong Sort of Offer

There is every chance that you tailor your offers in order to appeal to each type of potential new client. After all, you are unlikely to treat a giant multi-national company in the exact same way as a small local firm.

This tailored approach is a clever way of looking for sales that could give you positive results if you get it right. On the other hand, what if you get it wrong and send out offers that aren’t a good fit for each prospective customer?

This is another case in which using good data cleansing software will help you to better understand the size, budget and needs of your contacts. If you feel that you can rely completely upon the data that you can see on screen then there is a much better chance of make a powerful sales pitch that gets results.

Don’t let potential new clients slip through your fingers. Turning them into valuable on-going customers can be as easy as looking after your data with the help of our range of software products.



Feb 09

UK Data Protection Rules Still to be Clarified Following Brexit

Many issues have emerged from the Brexit vote last summer and possible changes to the UK’s data protection rules is one point that needs to be clarified.

Well, UK digital minister Matt Hancock has recently spoken to a House of Lords Home Affairs sub-committee on this very matter. Hancock said during the session that the country’s laws on this subject are most likely going to closely reflect the existing European Union data protection legislation.

This would mean that Brexit wouldn’t really result in any great changes in the way that information is able to move back and forward between the UK and EU countries. In fact, the minister said that the British government is keen to “ensure unhindered data flows” in the aftermath of the referendum last summer.

He also confirmed that these data flows should also be “uninterrupted”. When asked directly whether this meant that there would be no big data protection cut-off date from Europe he replaced succinctly with the word “exactly”.

Hancock was reluctant to get into specific details on the matter, quoting the Primer Minister’s view that they don’t want to undermine the country’s negotiations with the EU. However, it is expected that British politicians will look to maintain the data flow with those other countries that the European Union has agreements in place with, as well as with the EU.

For instance, the EU-US Privacy Shield deal will have to be discussed, as Britain will no longer be covered by this agreement following the conclusion of Brexit arrangements.

So, it appears that data protection rules and laws in this country will be largely in line with those of our European counterparts. However, it remains unclear which agency will be responsible for arbitrating any issues or conflicts that arise, as the UK will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Despite being urged to provide some more details on the various options being considered in terms of implementing UK data protection rules, Hancock would not be drawn on the “pros and cons of various different arrangements” that could be put in place eventually. Neither would be comment on what could happen if they are unable to get a suitable agreement in place with the EU countries.

Of course, no matter how this issue is eventually resolved, keeping their data under control should be one of the main concerns of any company. One way of ensuring a better use of data is by using trustworthy protection tools to keep your databases relevant and up to date all the time.

By allying data matching and data cleansing tools to a rigorous staff training process is it possible to feel confident about handling any changes to the data protection rules that come along. With a manageable and controlled customer database there is no longer any need to worry about what information you might hold and not be fully aware of.

Take the first steps towards a better quality of data by looking at the current data cleansing software that we offer.

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