The importance of digital footprint data management

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There are several digital footprint risks your enterprise must not overlook in its data protection programs.

October 3, 20187 mins
The Importance of Digital Footprint Data Management- Digital Footprint | Iron Mountain

Just like people, companies have vast digital footprints - traces of personal information, transactions and content touched while online. Every click, search, download, "like," purchase and geolocation is stored somewhere today. While digital footprints of buyers' behavior offer massive opportunities for marketing efforts, there are also digital footprint risks your enterprise must not overlook in its data protection programs.

Unknown footprints can hurt your brand

It's best to know what's out there impacting your brand and to take steps to change any negative perceptions provoked by your digital footprint. But managing the reputational impact of digital footprints not under your organization's control can be a full-time occupation. For example, monitoring and trying to remedy inappropriate employee photo tags, unflattering online reviews and negative social media mentions makes constant demands on your attention. It can help to monitor social channels and Google Alerts for mentions of your organization.

Ancient web content

Marketers enlarge their companies' digital footprints at an alarming rate, posting articles, white papers, advertisements and product information on company websites and social media channels. But your organization may not have a process to monitor and manage the lifecycle of this data. Leaving web pages up with outdated or even incorrect information can harm your company's brand. Obsolete data on your site can frustrate potential buyers searching for information and solutions, turning them off. Trivial and dated content can also impact your Google search scoring, keeping you out of prospects' search engine results. Monitoring your web content to destroy or archive old or incorrect content is a best practice to adopt.

Footprint security concerns

With the sheer volume of information that must be managed, it's a challenge to stay on top of which digital assets need to be secured. Internet and social media companies that house lots of third-party advertisements have their hands full monitoring for digital ads on their site that contain malware. Malvertising - where malware infections are hidden in clickable ad content - have been on the scene for a while, according to Network World. Monitoring for these types of "unknown" digital footprints and having a process to take them down is critical for preventing harm to IT infrastructure and your site's reputation.

Digital footprint storage compliance

If your company tracks and stores your customers' digital footprints, you'll want to make sure that the data is not only accessible but secure, in order to comply with privacy and data protection laws. Many companies turn to secure cloud archiving to house large-scale customer digital data for current and future mining. Any personally identifiable information you collect on web forms for lead generation, for example, must be securely stored, under the E.U.'s General Data Protection Regulation. Banks tracking deposit and withdrawal frequency, transaction time of day, customer geolocation or other metrics will want reliable, compliant cloud backup for this high-value information. Your organization's data management program must account for these digital footprint data sets to keep you compliant.

While extracting value from customer digital footprints and managing the risks of your company's known and unknown digital assets, make sure that the issues explored above make their way into your data management plans.


While 86% of consumers have concerns about data tracking, almost the same percentage recognize that tracking enables retailers to present relevant and targeted content.

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