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Ensuring Secure Data Handling with Zeotap CDP Advanced Hashing

In today’s data-driven landscape, brands often find themselves in a dilemma when it comes to sharing their valuable first-party (1P) data in its raw format. Concerns about potential misuse on third-party (3P) platforms can lead to hesitations in data sharing, limiting the activation possibilities across various platforms that rely on raw identifiers such as email and SMS. Zeotap recognises these challenges and has developed a secure platform that prioritises end-to-end storage of customer data across all touchpoints.

In this blog, we’ll delve into Zeotap’s commitment to addressing these concerns and striking the delicate balance between data security and activation. We’ll explore how the hashing capabilities in Zeotap CDP ensures the highest level of security while enabling seamless activation on multiple platforms. 

How Zeotap started supporting hashed values

In the early days, Zeotap initiated the practice of collecting hashed values from our customers to meet the specific needs of Adtech use cases. Adtech platforms don’t support raw values, which drove Zeotap to introduce support for hashed values, with a strong emphasis on predefined rules to ensure the highest standards of security. This transition greatly facilitated the execution of Adtech use cases.

As we expanded our horizons to include Martech use cases, the significance of supporting hashed values became even more pronounced. To accommodate Martech requirements, Zeotap began accepting raw values and made sure that they are converted to hashed values for activation as required. This not only opened doors to a broader range of Martech use cases but also ensured the continued support of our Adtech use cases.

For example, consider an email address received in a hashed format. Martech use cases like email marketing require sending messages to actual email addresses to reach recipients. However, once hashed, the same email address can be effectively employed for activation on Adtech channels. This dual-format approach allows us to leverage the same customer data for both Adtech and Martech use cases, enhancing versatility and value.

Ensuring data security from ingress to activation

At Zeotap, your data’s privacy and security are our top priorities from the moment it enters Zeotap CDP until it’s activated on various platforms. We offer brands the flexibility to choose platforms for activating both hashed and raw PII data and we strictly adhere to each brand’s permissions, ensuring the utmost privacy and security while maintaining robust activation capabilities.

Within Zeotap CDP, we provide a highly secure environment for storing and utilising hashed and raw PII data. We understand the importance of preserving the confidentiality and privacy of your data across numerous activation channels. To achieve this, we employ a sophisticated algorithm to hash and protect your data, keeping it in a secure state throughout your access and usage journey. Our hashing process utilises an asymmetric encryption method with distinct keys for encryption and decryption. This transforms your data into an unreadable form, known as “ciphertext,” which remains secure until decrypted with the designated decryption key. This approach is carefully designed to prioritize user privacy and safeguard sensitive customer data not just while storing the data but also while activating it across networks. Your data’s security is our commitment, and we handle it with the utmost care and attention.

Maintaining Support for Hashed Values

Zeotap started dealing with raw PII data by handling hashed values and activating them on Martech platforms. To ensure compatibility with both Adtech and Martech platforms, we established a process that accepted both raw and hashed PII and converted them to hashed format as required. Depending on the platform type (Adtech or Martech), we selectively use either raw or hashed formats for data activation. We maintain and secure both raw and hashed values, adhering to the recommended hashing standards. This preserves data integrity during activation by providing the required format.

Managing hashing for email addresses and cell phone numbers

At Zeotap, we’ve made it easy for you to handle email addresses, whether you prefer working with raw or hashed data. Send us your raw email addresses and we’ll work our magic by hashing them into SHA256 format. This ensures the privacy and security of your data. We’ll then provide you with two email-based fields for each hash function, including both lowercase and uppercase versions. 

Just like with email addresses, when it comes to cell phone numbers, we can handle the hashing for you. If you’d like us to do the hashing, we provide guidelines and instructions for sharing raw cell phone numbers using our JavaScript tag or through direct file upload. This ensures efficient hashing while maintaining data security.

Evolving with the hashed data landscape

Over time, platforms have undergone changes in their requirements for accepting raw PII data. While email addresses continue to demand hashing in sha256 lowercase and uppercase formats, cell phone numbers, on certain platforms, now prefer the E164 format. Zeotap remains aligned with the industry’s evolving needs. We not only accept email addresses in the E164 format but also facilitate their activation across various platforms. Our SDKs are designed to receive raw email addresses and, when necessary, convert the E164 format to SHA256. This ensures seamless data activation in downstream systems. In our commitment to serving our customers’ demands, we’re actively working on extending this support to our offline sources soon.

In summary, Zeotap provides a powerful solution for brands seeking a secure way to handle raw data. With the robust hashing capabilities of Zeotap CDP, brands can confidently store and transfer sensitive customer data in an encrypted format, ensuring the highest level of data security. If you’re ready to explore the advantages of Zeotap CDP’s hashing guidelines, we invite you to reach out to us at [email protected]. We’re excited to answer any questions or accommodate your requests. 

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