The Ultimate Guide to Chatbots, Data, Security, and Risk

Everywhere we look, technology continues to transform and impact. It alters the course of everyday activities, human interaction, business engagement, and travel. There is unprecedented growth of new technologies. Here, we focus on several transformational technologies suitable for business. These are things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Blockchain that produce products such as Chatbots. The research and development field are full of studies examining the potential of Chatbots to replace mobile applications in the near future. As more technological advances occur, it is only a matter of time and task complexity that Chatbot can be applied to more and more contexts.

It is really important that we realize technology is not neutral. With every inch of progress, emerges new unintended consequences. One of these consequences for business is the increased security threat in their environment. With the deployment of any new technology, we need to consider the security threat. The previous two articles provided information on training and subsequent performance of the Chatbot. Today, our attention shifts to Chatbot security and reliable measures to secure your Chatbot.

There is power inherent in all inventions. Just like the true intentions for the technology created for the bombs in World War II were not revealed to the people working on the project, humans are behind every invention. Where humans have an advantage over a Chatbot is in the ability to use logic, senses, and natural thought. A Chatbot will not be able to detect threats unless you train it as such. You need to put measures in place for the Chatbot to consider threats. A chatbot interacts with the most important part of your business, data. This data is the heart and soul of your business. Any tampering, loss, or misuse of data can result in significant revenue loss, branding damages litigation risks, and additional unintended consequences over time. The way to minimize potential data issues is through IT security. Therefore, equipping your Chatbot with the ability to operate with security should be a central piece of any implementation plan. This is true of any industry, but especially industries with outside regulations.

What follows are possible measures that you could deploy in your Chatbot based on your security requirements.

Two Factor verification with Voice Authentication

Anytime that you have to login to your account now, whether it is banking, email, or school, from a new IP address or cleared cache, we probably use two factor authentication. This mode of authentication requires you to enter your normal password, possibly answer a security question, and then enter a new password or press a confirmation button on an app to actually enter the platform.

Therefore, something that could be done is adding one more layer of security to your Chatbot such as voice authentication. This gives your system recorded phrases of your customers when they attempt to login and access their data. The voice authentication for a Chatbot asks customers to speak a single-use password and subsequent phrases to verify their identity. This process works through an active voice Biometric algorithm that uses prerecorded vocal phrases for authentication. If there is an irregularity in voice recognition and authentication, a red flag is raised and the Chatbot is notified. From here, the Chatbot has one of two options. It can transfer the interaction to a human for additional verification or use other processes of verification depending on the intent defined for that specific use case.

Bio Metric Facial recognition & fingerprint

Anytime that you travel internationally or receive a clearance level, you have experience bio metric facial recognition and fingerprinting. This technology is also being used in applications. Two examples are Apple Touch ID and Uber Driver facial recognition. Highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare need additional layers of security and bio metric facial recognition and fingerprinting are a good fit for their Chatbot. This system has recorded Bio metric information in the form of the fingerprint, retina, or face. This information is gathered during periods of opening a new account or accessing new technology features. In this process, a customer will be asked to verify either their fingerprint or bio metric identity prior to accessing the information in order to ensure their identity.

This bio metric algorithm will verify their information before giving full access. A bio metric facial recognition system is smart enough to identify if there are normal changes to the individual’s face such as a beard, make up, or facials. A more advanced level of security is the use of the Biometric retina recognition. This security feature is common in government agencies and can be integrated into the Chatbot depending on the individual and industry needs.

Encryption & On premise Hosting

Another option is to use encryption and on premise hosting as a level of security for the Chatbot. This might sound easy to choose the right encryption medium to ensure that your messages are safe and ready to be delivered. However, it is not as easy as it sounds to equip your Chatbot with this level of security. The vast majority of Chatbots are deployed through public channels such as Facebook or What’s App. In these instances, it is difficult to encrypt your Chatbot because the messages depend on the channels. This means that the channel determines the encryption. In the case of Facebook, these messages are only encrypted until a certain date. The question is, how do you define encryption for your Chatbot?

The first clue to the answers comes directly from the purpose of your Chatbot. If your Chatbot is being used for customer service and support, there is no risk in using public channels. However, if your Chatbot is accessing and transmitting potentially sensitive information such as financial data, healthcare reports, and other personal account related information, the best strategy is to host the Chatbot on your premises. By hosting the Chatbot on site, your enterprise will have absolute control of two key functions: the servers that the Chatbot runs on and the development process. This means that a complete operation of the security policy is possible.

It is not enough to encrypt the Chatbot appropriately for your purpose. You also need to make sure that there are inherent features such as role-based access and multi-user management. These ensure that access to various layers of the ChatBot are determine with a high degree of specificity.

Draw the Rules of Engagement for Data Handling & Data Storage

A Chatbot is primarily deployed to perform similar tasks across industries. For example, they often receive and answer queries from customers, retrieve relevant information from the databank, and store relevant data. The Chatbot is also constantly learning from these tasks. At a higher level, you as the administrator must decide what information you want the Chatbot to be able to access. This decision needs to be driven from the ChatBot use cases and needed security measures. For example, in a highly regulated industry like healthcare or finance, a ChatBot that is used in Facebook must not be able to access sensitive information like customer account or health data. Conversely, a Chatbot that is hosted on site and verified through features like Biometric facial recognition, your ChatBot could access sensitive patient or customer information. In these cases, you must still define a timeline for when the data generated from Chatbot-customer interactions will be deleted.

In order to minimize risks, all decisions with regards to ChatBot security, need to have what is known as strategy driven security. This is called self-destructing strategy and it can only increase the safeguarding of that business.

A Chatbot that inappropriately shares confidential data is a litigation and ethical risk for your entire company. Knowing the purpose of your ChatBot will help you to make decisions regarding security measures. In general, the more regulatory industries like healthcare or finance need to take additional steps to keep data safe. Whether through two factor voice authentication, Biometric face recognition, or encryption and web hosting, you have options for secure deployment of a Chatbot.