Keeping Data Safe

Taking steps to ensure personal information is secure and private benefits both companies and customers in a world where no data is safe. The protection of customer data is a critical responsibility for all employees, and it is important to establish a corporate culture that respects security and privacy. A company that does can ease people’s minds and strengthen its market position.

To do this, management must demonstrate its commitment, provide time and resources to support projects, and recognize employees who excel in implementing those values. IT teams need to establish "zero tolerance" information security processes and policies. Marketing departments need to embrace security and privacy practices as a way to differentiate brands and build relationships with consumers. Processes to get started may include formal audits with outside auditors, consistently monitoring security systems, and communicating information throughout the company.

Telling consumers that personal information is protected gives reassurance, but that proving personal information is protected gives credibility. Obtaining certification seals from organizations such as TRUSTe and VeriSign (VRSN), provides companies with the "gold standard" in privacy and security policies.

No one can guarantee privacy or safety in the Web 2.0 world. However, it is possible to communicate to customers and consumers that all possible steps have been taken to keep personal information secure and private.

Rick Fernandes CEO and Founder Norwalk, Conn.

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