Traditionally, data security has been a back-office risk management concern. Today, whether you’re marketing to consumers or businesses, security is a top-of-mind concern that can differentiate your product or service from the competition.
Breach notification laws such as California S.B. 1386 have ensured a steady stream of headlines over the last year, and consumers and businesses have begun to take note. According to the “2005 EDS Financial Services Privacy and Customer Relationship Management Survey,” 59 percent of consumers said financial institutions could further gain their trust by providing ongoing information on measures taken to improve security.
What if you aren’t a financial institution? The Conference Board reported that 13 percent of all Internet users say they or members of their households have been a victim of identity theft. More than half say their level of concern has grown over the past year. More notably, consumers are translating this concern into action -- 54 percent now opt out of special offers and 41 percent purchase less online. Still wondering how this applies to you? If you collect personally identifiable information about your customers such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, date of birth or credit history in the process of providing your product or service, a significant percentage of your customers are concerned about their data and need to be assured that it’s safe.
Consumers aren’t the only ones who care about data security. Financial institutions, health care organizations and retailers all are required to impose contractual security requirements on their suppliers and monitor their security measures on an ongoing basis, particularly those suppliers with access to sensitive data. Other industries also are starting to follow this practice. Data security can become a significant objection and delay sales cycles as your internal customer is pushed aside by the risk management manager or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance officer who wants to ensure your solution doesn’t pose an unacceptable risk.