Two interesting security/privacy related news bits this week:
- Researchers at UC Berkeley reported that Quancast, one of the biggest traffic measuring and online tracking firms, was using Flash cookies to track users even after the users had deleted browser cookies. Once outed, Quancast claimed to stop this practice.
- Palm was outed for the Palm Pre secretly sending user location information back to Palm each day. Once caught, Palm’s response was tepid, at best – Nick Jones of Gartner blogged about it here.
Now, think about the numerous incidents where cyber-criminals have broken into systems and stolen credit card and other identity information. Many of these incidents can be traced back to business decisions to use the data in ways that supported business, but also put the customer data at a high level of risk. Quancast, Palm and all those companies that have reported exposure incidents inevitably realize they made bad business decisions after they have angered their customers. In some cases they simply didn’t execute sufficiently operationally to protect the data, but in many, many cases they ignored or underweighted the risks the business bottom line would face.
Yet, the conversation Gartner analyst Mark Macdonald blogs about is quite common in some companies – security is seen as an obstacle to creativity and business expansion. Or at least it is seen as an obstacle until that major security event. But if you look at some of the most successfully, creative companies (Cisco, eBay, Google, etc) you find that security is always part of the business and design decisions.
Last year, in a Twelve Word Tuesday post I said “The best security program is at the business with the happiest customers.“ Security and creativity are not antonyms – keeping your customer data safe and your customers secure is a major plus to the bottom line that requires a creative approach. Creative in having security solutions, but also creative in getting those solutions baked in to new business initiatives.
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