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Master Data and Data Security …It’s Not Complicated

Master Data and Data Security…It’s Not Complicated

Master Data and Data Security…It’s Not Complicated

The statement on Master Data and Data security was well intended.  I can certainly understand the angst around data security.  Especially after Target’s data breach, it is top of mind for all IT and now business executives.  But the root of the statement was flawed.  And it got me thinking about master data and data security.

“If I use master data technology to create a 360-degree view of my client and I have a data breach, then someone could steal all the information about my client.”

Um, wait, what?  Insurance companies take personally identifiable information very seriously.  The statement is flawed in the relationship between client master data and securing your client data.  Let’s dissect the statement and see what master data and data security really mean for insurers.  We’ll start by level setting a few concepts.

What is your Master Client Record?

Your master client record is your 360-degree view of your client.  It represents everything about your client.  It uses Master Data Management technology to virtually integrate and syndicate all of that data into a single view.  It leverages identifiers to ensure integrity in the view of the client record.  And finally it makes an effort through identifiers to correlate client records for a network effect.

There are benefits to understanding everything about your client.  The shape and view of each client is specific to your business.  As an insurer looks at their policyholders, the view of “client” is based on relationships and context that the client has to the insurer.  This are policies, claims, family relationships, history of activities and relationships with agency channels.

And what about security?

Naturally there is private data in a client record.  But there is nothing about the consolidated client record that contains any more or less personally identifiable information.  In fact, most of the data that a malicious party would be searching for can likely be found in just a handful of database locations.  Additionally breaches happen “on the wire”.  Policy numbers, credit card info, social security numbers, and birth dates can be found in less than five database tables.  And they can be found without a whole lot of intelligence or analysis.

That data should be secured.  That means that the data should be encrypted or masked so that any breach will protect the data.  Informatica’s data masking technology allows this data to be secured in whatever location.  It provides access control so that only the right people and applications can see the data in an unsecured format.  You could even go so far as to secure ALL of your client record data fields.  That’s a business and application choice.  Do not confuse field or database level security with a decision to NOT assemble your golden policyholder record.

What to worry about?  And what not to worry about?

Do not succumb to fear of mastering your policyholder data.  Master Data Management technology can provide a 360-degree view.  But it is only meaningful within your enterprise and applications.  The view of “client” is very contextual and coupled with your business practices, products and workflows.  Even if someone breaches your defenses and grabs data, they’re looking for the simple PII and financial data.  Then they’re grabbing it and getting out. If the attacker could see your 360-degree view of a client, they wouldn’t understand it.  So don’t over complicate the security of your golden policyholder record.  As long as you have secured the necessary data elements, you’re good to go.  The business opportunity cost of NOT mastering your policyholder data far outweighs any imagined risk to PII breach.

So what does your Master Policyholder Data allow you to do?

Imagine knowing more about your policyholders.  Let that soak in for a bit.  It feels good to think that you can make it happen.  And you can do it.  For an insurer, Master Data Management provides powerful opportunities across everything from sales, marketing, product development, claims and agency engagement.  Each channel and activity has discreet ROI.  It also has direct line impact on revenue, policyholder satisfaction and market share.  Let’s look at just a few very real examples that insurers are attempting to tackle today.

  1. For a policyholder of a certain demographic with an auto and home policy, what is the next product my agent should discuss?
  2. How many people live in a certain policyholder’s household?  Are there any upcoming teenage drivers?
  3. Does this personal lines policyholder own a small business?  Are they a candidate for a business packaged policy?
  4. What is your policyholder claims history?  What about prior carriers and network of suppliers?
  5. How many touch points have your agents and had with your policyholders?  Were they meaningful?
  6. How can you connect with you policyholders in social media settings and make an impact?
  7. What is your policyholder mobility usage and what are they doing online that might interest your Marketing team?

These are just some of the examples of very streamlined connections that you can make with your policyholders once you have your 360-degree view. Imagine the heavy lifting required to do these things without a Master Policyholder record.

Fear is the enemy of innovation.  In mastering policyholder data it is important to have two distinct work streams.  First, secure the necessary data elements using data masking technology.  Once that is secure, gain understanding through the mastering of your policyholder record.  Only then will you truly be able to take your clients’ experience to the next level.  When that happens watch your revenue grow in leaps and bounds.

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