Security focus underscores LivePerson's Australian analytics push

LivePerson's plans to open an Australian data centre later this year will increase the collection of sensitive personal information, but careful security controls will ensure that the high-value personal information regularly exchanged during online chat sessions is protected before being stored for later analysis, a company executive has confirmed.

The company, which handles over 20 million customer-support conversations per month for customers over its software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure, will in the third quarter fill out its global network with redundant data centres in Sydney and Melbourne.

Those facilities are designed to better support local and regional customers and, given the recent tightening of Australian privacy protections, senior vice president Dustin Dean told CSO Australia.

“We're very careful to protect personal information from a privacy perspective,” Dean explained, noting that pattern-matching algorithms identify sensitive personal data such as account numbers and hash them before the data is stored and encrypted in place.

Given that the data of Australian LivePerson customers is currently stored in the company's UK data centres, those protections are particularly important for servicing this market.

Even with the company's expanded Australian presence later this year, those protections will become even more relevant as LivePerson's Australian customer base grows on the back of engagements with key telecommunications, financial-services, retail, airline and other vertical industries.

With LivePerson expanding its services to offer broader analysis of customer behaviour to identify online-support best practices, maintaining those data protections will be crucial to the company's ongoing business in Australia, Dean said.

“We are seeing a lot of movement in areas beyond just chat,” he explained. “Companies are really trying to get a better feeling for what consumers are saying within these conversations, to get insight into their products, services, competitions and the Web site itself.”

Such changes can lead to significant improvements in operational strategy: for example, analysis of chatting patterns during a poorly-received credit-card transfer campaign revealed that conversion rates were low because credit limits weren't being set high enough. Once this was adjusted, conversion rates increased dramatically.

“The data within the information that's held within our servers is amazing,” Dean said. “There is great value in having structured, behavioural characteristics aligned with unstructured conversations.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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