Fraudsters’ warfare is based on deception, but the same data-led ideas that help us improve customer experience can be turned to unravelling fraud and disputes. So here are my top tips for any business facing a potential data breach:

1. Use behavioural analytics to detect suspicious customer activity

Behavioural analytics have become a vital part of meeting growing expectations of customer experience. Businesses are now able to collect and analyse vast amounts of information on why customers may have abandoned a transaction, what types of content make customers buy or convert, and how visitors behave on different devices.

Analysing this data can help them understand customer behaviour and improve the quality of experiences across devices and channels.

But, capturing and preserving online customer interactions also enables detection of fraudulent activity either in real time or post mortem.

For example, if a business spots from previous interactions that a customer frequently orders products using different card numbers, email addresses or delivery addresses and promptly returns them, they can delve deeper into the customer’s order history and account information to investigate.

Once detected, suspected fraudsters can be automatically blocked access from site access, and goods can be prevented from leaving the warehouse until further investigation.

2. Take advantage of advanced forensic software tools that will help you replay website user sessions through the eyes the potential fraudster

Forensic investigations can explore the whole stream of data traffic, look for unusual behaviour or patterns in account numbers, IP addresses and email addresses, credit cards numbers and the items purchased. Ideally, security researchers will be able to replay malicious site visits through the eyes of the enemy.

3. Act quickly to understand the full impact of the breach

Once a breach is discovered, businesses must act quickly to understand and be able to report on the potential full impact. Which accounts were breached? What personally identifiable information was displayed – and to whom?

Often, fraudsters do things that are not transactional in nature – i.e. there are no data changes on the backend. So, what is the harm? If personal data was obtained, this can be very dangerous because it may be used in subsequent attacks.

4. Notify the affected parties while causing minimal disruption to the brand’s reputation

When an attack succeeds, businesses must also notify all affected parties. However, remedial action can be even more damaging.

If the company doesn’t know what information was disclosed, then it has to notify its entire user base, which can be very public, embarrassing, and expensive.

The cost of each letter as well as the typical remedial credit protection subscriptions for customers soon ramp up.

Along with the loss of priceless reputation in an era when venting on social media is rife, this can have a huge impact on a business’ bottom line.

5. Continue using tools to identify potential data breaches in near real time

Identifying and understanding fraudulent activity before it gets out of hand is never easy, but businesses now have the tools they need to help them monitor all customer activity and replay customer sessions instantly as and when needed.

By keeping a constant record of what is happening on your site, the scope of data breach remediation can be contained to the truly affected parties to avoid unnecessary publicity that will be a detriment to the brand.

For more information on this topic, read our posts on ‘Why Cyber Security Matters‘ and ‘Why cyber security is about people, not technology‘.