Business and security can conflict. The stereotype of security hindering innovation is sometimes true. However in the case of telephone toll fraud, it is the a reverse-double-whammy where security can stop the business side from doing things that are bad for business in the long term.
Take the case reported here, and imagine yourself as a small business using about $250 worth of telephone per month. Then you get a bill for say $60,000. Toll fraud? Yup. Are you responsible for keeping your phone equipment safe? The phone companies in the geographic reported on say yes unless you use their equipment.
Credit card companies have advanced the technology of unusual-use detection to impressive levels. Most of us who have had to take the phone from the checkout clerk and answer some questions posed by the credit card company appreciates the efforts to protect them. But with toll fraud I’m suggesting even near-cave-man levels of detection; things like if this month’s toll has reached double that of last month’s bill, phone or email the customer. The full recovery rate on those $60k bills must be near 1%, and any other partial recovery must be wiped out with lost opportunity business (the stuff that doesn’t show up on spreadsheets) from a lot of bad will and bad news traveling fast. I expect that whatever extra money is made by convincing a small customer to switch to your equipment doesn’t cover the bad experience and loss of confidence in the whole market in this age of Skype.
Are customers responsible for protect themselves? Yes. Is it good business to help protect them from catastrophic levels of risk? I think so.
This kind of business case where customers are hung out to dry when some basic measures could protect them has no legs.
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