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The Relationship Between User Experience (UX) and Cybersecurity

Every time a consumer makes a point-of-sale credit card purchase, pays for anything online or surfs the web, the activity generates data that companies collect, organize, analyze, store and use.

The numbers get very big, very fast when talking about transactional data. For instance, the average web user generated at least 1.7 MB of digital information every second for a global total of 2.5 quintillion bytes in 2020. By 2025, users will create 463 exabytes (10 to the 18th power) daily.

Protecting that tsunami of consumer data is creating enormous demand for cybersecurity professionals with advanced cybersecurity expertise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 35% growth rate in demand for information security analysts through 2031, about seven times the need for all other professions. The role of these information security analysts includes developing the user experience to protect data. The skills needed to create and audit these experiences require knowledge of how the interface is developed and how the data collection meets the printed policy.

It is with this surge in mind that graduate schools offer programs to satisfy these needs, like the online Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Information Science with a Specialization in IT and Cybersecurity Policy program from La Salle University.

Why Is UX Critical to Protecting Data?

Nearly 60% of internet users buy something from an online retailer every week. Ecommerce Guide notes that sellers are rapidly transforming their digital interactions with customers because their past user experience significantly influences their future actions.

Safeguarding online customers’ personal information — names, addresses, phone numbers, purchase histories, credit card numbers, passwords and other sensitive data — has a make-or-break effect on keeping customers or losing them.

How Does Protecting Customer Data Create UX Trust and a Competitive Advantage?

Online shoppers know they must trade personal information to download apps, make purchases and conduct other transactions. But nearly 70% distrust how companies will use their data, according to TechRepublic, and 60% believe hackers will eventually steal it.

That concern is reasonable. Statistics on successful cyberattacks show that malicious actors have broken into data banks of industries ranging from online retailers and social media platforms to financial institutions and search engines. Some include:

  • Amazon paid $877 million in fines for alleged violations of European laws governing third-party cookie consent.
  • T-Mobile settled litigation from a data breach that affected an estimated 77 million people.
  • Capital One agreed to pay $190 million in damages to settle a breach that affected 100 million people.

Essentially, the impact of cybertheft stemming from UX can result in lost revenue and brand reputation, and businesses that develop new data security measures and deploy them will gain customer trust.

“Markets are ready to be disrupted by companies who can get this right,” according to the TechRepublic article, which predicts companies that innovate fastest will become the businesses online consumers choose.

Where Are Companies Innovating to Protect Consumer Data and the UX?

While threats from the outside — organized crime, hackers and state-sponsored malicious actors, for instance — gain the most attention, breaches from within the organization are a growing hazard. Moreover, insider risk is even more dangerous as work-from-home becomes more widely accepted.

“Remote work is opening up new insider threats — whether it’s negligence or malicious employees – and companies are scrambling to stay on top of these unprecedented risks,” according to Threatpost.

Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report found that insiders committed 34% of data leaks, including employees, contractors, vendors and business partners operating within the companies’ point of sale perimeter — most often in error.

Disgruntled employees can commit insider data theft. Breaches include:

  • Avoiding safety checks on UX deployments
  • Downloading sensitive information to unsecured laptops and mobile devices
  • Uploading consumer data to unprotected cloud servers
  • Changing permissions to loosen access to sensitive consumer data

Computer Information Science development and response to insider breaches will include innovations in identity and access management, which enables companies to monitor remote workplace data entry by creating audit trails that record how employees handle data.

“Unless there was an established data protection policy in place that took into consideration remote employees with outlined controls, companies will experience data loss whether they realize it or not,” Threatpost warns.

Demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing with the need to protect consumer data and improve their experience in the digital marketplace, but supply is low.

Companies, therefore, are willing to pay a premium for specialists who have an advanced understanding of the software development processes, proven strategies for gathering and safeguarding digital data and demonstrated secure testing standards and protocols. Through courses that address aspects of UX, such as Client Interface Development and Mobile Development, La Salle’s online M.S. in Computer Information Science – IT and Cybersecurity Policy program equips professionals with the knowledge to address this demand.

Learn more about La Salle’s online Master of Science in Computer Information Science with a Specialization in IT and Cybersecurity Policy program.

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