Privacy: Can Customer Service Robots Compromise Data Security?

Blog / Privacy: Can Customer Service Robots Compromise Data Security?

Today we have another post from Rosey Jadeson examining the rise of customer service robots and how they provide a route for attackers to compromise customers' data and therefore how early adopters can manage those risks

In today’s increasingly digital milieu, businesses need to experiment with technologies that can boost their success. Owners will want to look at software to foster collaboration on their teams, apps to facilitate smoother customer communication, and virtual systems to help them navigate their financial operations. However, they’ll also need to be aware of the heightened risk of data breaches adopting these technologies can carry because they involve storing information digitally. As noted in a previous post, cybersecurity breaches are now hitting record highs in the UK’s defence industry, with one government agency handling over 600 cyberattack incidents in 2019. It’s a best practice, then, that when businesses embrace emerging tech solutions, they account for the possibility of data leaks.

There’s one innovative technology, in particular, they may be using and might want to focus their cybersecurity efforts on: customer service robots, which now have risen to a 37% compound annual growth rate and are taking many sectors of the service world by storm. These robots are often lauded for their ability to perform complex service tasks to assist humans, including personalising customer experiences, making deliveries, and, of course, collecting data.

Customer Service robot

Because of the robots’ ability to acquire information, it is vital for business owners who’ve invested in the tech to engage with the potential of customer service robots compromising data security and how they can minimise those risks. Here’s an overview of the topic:

The data security risks of customer service robots

Malicious actors hacking into the systems of customer service robots is a genuine data security threat. They can penetrate databases containing sensitive details, such as through a concierge robot that can access the passport numbers and room locations on a hotel’s guest list. They can take control of robots that work with finances—like a cashier robot—and retrieve unsuspecting customers’ credit card details. In one case, researchers discovered security vulnerabilities in hospital robots that would have allowed hackers access to real-time camera feeds and hospital device data. In short, the data security risks of customer service robots are substantial and shouldn’t easily be dismissed. Fortunately, businesses that use these robots can still mitigate these risks in several ways.

Improving cybersecurity for customer service robots

Classify and set permissions for data

Business owners can make their data far more difficult to hack by taking a few extra steps to split information into two categories: operational data, which the customer robots use to function and keep their processes smooth, and contextual data, or information robots gather for their functions—for example, records from their sensor feeds. Once classified, businesses can encrypt these data groups differently for an extra layer of protection.

To take it further, they can also utilise data erasure software to securely delete obsolete data and prevent any residual data from being collected. Finally, business owners can create a well-defined security policy on which stakeholders can control the robots and what they are allowed to do with the information they’re given. This will enable business owners to choose only trusted personnel for handling the data robots can access, pinpoint the cause of data leaks, and revoke permissions when needed.

Update and monitor the customer service robot’s software

Business owners must update their customer service robot’s interface to maintain quality data protection. Updates can debug robots’ systems, patch defects, and enhance their overall security features. However, it’s also crucial for business owners to only get their software updates from trusted sources to prevent downloading malware. A great rule of thumb is to only download updates from the software’s publisher.

Stay updated on data security risks

As customer service robots continue to evolve, so does the innovation of hackers who try to access their data. Businesses that use these robots are thus responsible for staying updated on the best practices to shield sensitive information and apply it to their robot and any software system it’s connected to. By staying one step ahead, business owners can create safeguards for data breaches before they even happen. Newspapers like Security Weekly and The Hacker News offer notification features businesses can use to stay in the loop.

Customer service robots are a remarkable new technology that can positively impact various sectors. As long as business owners take care to secure the robot’s data, there should be no issues in utilising this stellar innovation.

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