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Data scraping protection failing in over half of organisations

data scraping

Data scraping protection is failing to secure personal user data among more than half of organisations polled in a new survey.

A new study finds that while companies recognize that personal user data must be protected, more than half do not have sufficient anti-scraping strategies in place.

Data scraping, which describes an automated way of accessing and extracting data, places users’ privacy at risk and subsequently increases the liability and reputational risk for the companies who hold such data.

Recognizing that data is the core driving force behind our global digital economy, NewtonX surveyed more than 1,300 professionals specializing in data protection across industries to not only better understand the policies companies are using to prevent harmful data extraction, but to get a firm handle on best practices as well.

Designed to equip data, privacy, compliance and IT security professionals with the knowledge they need to better safeguard customer and/or consumer data, the study demonstrates that when buy-in is secured from key stakeholders and proper procedures are employed, a company can prevent harmful data scraping. Notably, while most recognize the importance of data protection, more than half of companies (58 per cent) do not currently have data protection strategies in place.

“Given that there have been several high-profile cases where scraping has harmed user privacy and simultaneously damaged the reputations of companies in recent years, it’s never been more important for companies to learn how to effectively handle data scraping,” said Patiwat Panurach, VP of strategic insights & analytics at NewtonX. “While internet platforms must remain open in order to be useful, that openness poses a risk to users and companies alike that their data can be automatically extracted for malicious purposes. Our hope is that this study, its findings and its best practices not only stimulate conversation around this increasingly critical issue, but that it will also foster a community where anti-scraping learnings can be exchanged in the months and years to come.”

As part of its research, NewtonX found that nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) experts believe that user data scraping prevention is important or very important relative to other security issues, and roughly the same percentage (89 per cent) have had their users’ data scraped. However, only 42 per cent of respondents have a dedicated strategy to deal with the issue. NewtonX also found that anti-data scraping awareness and efforts are varied, with some disagreeing over to what extent user data must be protected. To that end, some organizations have dedicated strategies and resources around data scraping prevention, while others do not perceive data scraping as negatively impactful or as a priority, further suggesting that there’s significant room for improvement.

Not only does data scraping happen without most users’ awareness, but it often has an invisible direct impact to users themselves—meaning misuse can go unnoticed. Fortunately, prevention measures are available and rarely create friction for users themselves.

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