Data Security

Keep Your Data Secure — For You AND Your Customers
August 21, 2007

Eric Holmen, president of SmartReply, is troubled by the amount of data for voice and mobile technology being managed in non-secure facilities, or even overseas, where data security requirements are compromised and not under the oversight of U.S. federal laws. According to Holmen, “Any time a company gives even the smallest amount of customer data to a third party, they need to cover the basics.” 1. Keep it close to home. Make sure your customer data never leaves U.S. soil and never touches a server outside of the country; no foreign transit of data or removal of data out of U.S. federal jurisdiction. Data can

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
July 1, 2007

The April release of the president’s Identity Theft Task Force’s report, “Combating Identity Theft: A Strategic Plan,” offers a convenient reason to revisit the subject of protecting customer data. The report contains a comprehensive overview of existing laws that relate to the protection of customer data, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) and its attendant Safeguards Rule, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The report also discusses the data breach notification laws that currently have been enacted by 38 states. Instead of this patchwork of state laws, the task force’s report recommends the passage of pre-emptive federal

Editor’s Notes: We’ve Got Engagement
July 1, 2007

This past weekend, I spent 15 minutes on the phone with my bank waiting to tell the first available representative that I lost my ATM card. My lengthy delay was kicked off by the announcement that Wachovia had been ranked No. 1 in overall satisfaction compared to other top financial institutions. Needless to say, my hopes were raised for a speedy fix to my problem, but instead I paced agitatedly from one side of the living room to the other. In truth, however, I have to admit that I was losing my patience after just five minutes of wait time, even though I called during

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
May 1, 2007

A spate of do-not-mail bills has been introduced in state legislatures in the past few months. While these are attempts to capitalize on the extremely popular Do-Not-Call Registry, nationally maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the sponsors of these new bills also claim the prevention of identity theft and environmental concerns as motivations. At the time of this writing, two bills already had been pulled or withdrawn by their sponsors (Colorado HB 1303 and Montana HB 718) in the wake of concerted opposition from groups such as the U.S. Postal Service, Letter Carriers’ associations and the Direct Marketing Association. In withdrawing their bills, the

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
March 1, 2007

When the Democrats gained control of the House and the Senate, there was speculation about what they might do by way of privacy legislation. On Jan. 5, they introduced HR 1, the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.” Although not a privacy bill per se, HR 1 indicates the Democrats’ focus leans more toward restraining government intrusion in intelligence gathering than on marketers’ collection and use of information about their customers. Sprinkled throughout the bill, however, are references to the “private sector” and the recognition that private sector organizations “possess valuable information that when ‘fused’ with law enforcement data and properly analyzed

E-commerce Link: Sign Me Up!
January 1, 2007

An e-mail house list is the centerpiece of any e-mail communications plan. At first blush, the process of building this list may seem fairly straightforward; but, when it comes to constructing a responsive list, quality counts more than quantity. By incorporating permission-based practices into your e-mail collection process, you can build a list that generates sales. Establish strong permission practices and use opt-in. In today’s e-mail climate, good permission practices are an imperative. And, good permission equates to opt-in marketing. Like telemarketing, e-mail is a personal medium. With the advent of the Do-Not-Call Registry, a significant portion of the public clearly indicated it doesn’t want phone

Respect Privacy to Add Profitability
November 1, 2006

Corporate marketing and privacy departments often find themselves at odds, according to a new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and information management research firm based in Elk Rapids, Mich. This despite solid evidence that privacy-conscious marketing strategies engender brand trust and are highly favored by consumers. Mike Spinney, the Ponemon Institute’s communications director, says that marketers may not be aware of how strongly consumers associate brand perception with trust and privacy issues. “Everyone, I think, understands the importance of customer goodwill,” says Spinney, “but in marketing departments, the chief privacy officer, or CPO, is still referred to as the customer prevention officer. Everyone

Legislative Round-Up
October 1, 2006

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This statement seems especially true when it comes to federal privacy and data breach laws. Last year, proposals for a federal data breach law appeared dead, with a number of similar bills failing to receive support. Then, at the end of 2005, Microsoft reversed its position and declared it now supported federal legislation. After some controversy over a proposed House bill in March, however, things quieted down again, with the Microsoft-backed bill lost somewhere in the shuffle. Now, it seems we’re back where we were nine months ago—with proposals for national laws gaining traction. In

Privacy: What Do You Prefer?
October 1, 2006

When you go to Starbucks, you order a half-caf latte, skim milk, extra foam. The man behind you asks for a cappuccino with soy milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The woman behind him? Coffee, black. Starbucks can handle all these preferences—and even better, once you start becoming a regular customer, the baristas will know what you want before you reach the counter, and will be able to suggest that a new blueberry scone would go great with that latte. As such, Starbucks and other customer-minded companies have trained consumers to expect vendors’ offerings to be customized to their wants and needs. That’s where