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Data Security Questions to Ask When Considering Marketing Research Vendors

Data Security Questions to Ask When Considering Marketing Research Vendors

According to Forbes, there were 2,365 cyberattacks impacting 343,338,964 individuals in 2023.

This marks a 72% surge in data breaches compared to 2021 and coincides with an average cost of $4.45 million per data breach.

For market researchers, data analysts, and business owners, selecting a marketing research vendor isn’t just about who can provide the best insights — It’s just as crucial to select a partner that places a high priority on data security.

While data security has always been important in the market research industry, its complexity and the risks associated with any missteps have grown exponentially. Reports of data breaches and security hacks across industries underscore the need for greater vigilance against threats to research data, impacting not only clients but also survey participants.
How can you ensure your company selects a research vendor that prioritizes data security for protection and research insights quality? Here’s a guide of critical questions you should ask to assess a vendor’s data security protocols and make an informed decision.

Data Security Questions to Ask

  • What are your best practices and procedures for data security?
  • How do you ensure compliance among staff?
  • Where/how do you store participant data?
  • How do you mitigate security risks?
  • How do you monitor and audit security procedures to address new threats?
  • How do you respond to and prioritize security threats?

Additional Considerations for Data Protection and Privacy

When market research vendors handle large volumes of sensitive data—from customer information to proprietary business insights—a security lapse of any size can be detrimental. It’s essential that market research vendors maintain stringent data security measures to protect both your business and your research participants.
Thoroughly vetting a research vendor’s data security measures through these questions can prevent future data challenges and risks. Prioritize transparency and proactive risk management with potential market research vendors to strengthen safeguards against evolving security threats.

Panelist Integrity and Quality Assurance for Data Security

Another facet of data security is preventing fraud:
For instance, if the same person takes a survey multiple times or misrepresents themselves to qualify for a survey (and the associated rewards), it can compromise data integrity.
When using panels, we recommend your research vendor have a multi-step, scientifically rigorous, and repeatable process for recruiting, engaging, and nurturing panelists as well as eliminating them if they fail quality standards.
What’s more, your research vendor should follow industry guidelines for data security and privacy while adhering to the data protection laws in place in any region in which you conduct research.
But perhaps the most important data security recommendation we can offer is that you work with research vendors whose approaches and practices you can verify and trust.
At Internet Research Bureau, we utilize technology for seamless quality control with proprietary tools for recruitment, engagement, and real-time verification. We have also automated our re-profiling techniques, and we’re affiliated with and follow the guidelines of the MRS, MRSI, and the Insights Association.
For more information on our data security practices and how we can address your requirements with our research panels, contact IRB today.