Securing the Survey Link  

The Unaddressed Challenge of Survey Link Security

By Rich Ratcliff, Chief Trust Officer 

Regardless of the industry, the integrity of data collection processes is paramount. The Market Research ecosystem has a unique challenge that has persisted for over a decade: our vulnerability to transparent and open survey link processing.   

As technology and fraud methods have evolved, the mechanisms for bringing respondents into surveys have remained stagnant, exposing a critical gap in safeguarding data quality. While ad-hoc efforts have been made, conventional online survey link security hasn’t changed much. Simply put, it’s just not secure.   

Why does this matter now? The sophistication of fraudulent actors has outpaced the evolution of security measures within our industry. This poses a threat to data quality while also impacting the overall reliability and credibility of research findings.  Ever heard of ‘link jumping’ or ‘ghost completes’?  This vulnerability wouldn’t exist if our ecosystem had evolved with the technology around it.   

A Little History 

When online surveys burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, they rapidly became the method of choice, challenging traditional telephone surveys and bringing along significant and various challenges—from ensuring methodological reliability to connecting disparate systems. Our means of connection were simplified through basic link parameters, and it worked just fine for a while.  

However, as our industry evolved with significant methodological advancements and a shift towards programmatic principles, the foundational cracks in our approach to survey link security became increasingly apparent. An ecosystem is only as strong as its weakest link. 

Historically, securing survey links has been characterized by inertia, leaving Market Research (MR) Agencies exposed to fraudsters’ escalating tactics. This inertia has persisted despite technological advancements and a significant increase in Insights Platforms designed for end-to-end operations.  

Current State 

The stark reality is that many MR Agencies are not inherently equipped in cybersecurity. This is a fact sample companies often use to justify the current risk.  Yet, the unchanged method of survey link processing has woven unsecured transfer practices into the fabric of our industry, unaddressed and ripe for exploitation. Recognizing this gap and its implications for data integrity, OpinionRoute has long committed itself to enhancing data quality, mitigating threats, and simplifying processes for MR Agencies.  

Through the Navigator workflow platform, we have created a technological partnership aimed at securing the survey process from start to finish for any survey engine + sample vendor combination. The Navigator’s secure link processing is a testament to our proactive stance on improving data security, offering MR Agencies a way to safeguard their research comprehensively without needing a Cybersecurity expert on staff. 

By addressing these challenges with a secure intermediary platform, the Navigator:  

  • Ensures the integrity of the collected data.  
  • Combats fraudulent activities.  
  • Streamlines the research process. 

Overall, the Navigator makes advanced, high-quality data collection that is technologically sound, maintainable, and obtainable for MR Agencies of all sizes.  

OpinionRoute is breaking the cycle of complacency, positioning research agencies well in a business environment increasingly focused on quality and security.   

Let’s talk about the Navigator! 

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