Once More Into a Security Breach for Remote Sellers

The fallout from the UK government's recent security lapses may have serious ramifications for distance sellers and the direct marketing industry, reports Catalogue/e-business magazine.

Ilfracombe, United Kingdom, December 20, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Following the latest high-profile loss of consumer data in the UK, people may be wary of shopping online or even via phone, reports Catalogue/e-business magazine. “Now it’s more important than ever for etailers, cataloguers and other remote sellers to maintain the security of their operations and to then reassure consumers of that security,” says editorial director Sherry Chiger.

The government’s 17 December admission that details on 3 million driving test candidates have gone missing comes just a month after HM Revenue and Customs revealed that two disks containing confidential data on 25 million Britons who receive child benefit had been lost. Some direct marketing professionals are warning that the high-profile security lapse could cause consumers to become more wary and less likely to shop remotely.

“Inevitably there will be some form of backlash in at least the short term for the direct marketing industry,” Nick Howse, managing director of Howse Jackson Marketing, a list and data services provider, told Catalogue/e-business. “The potential problem for the industry is that at what is for many a crucial time of the year for campaigns, consumers may decide not to respond to cold direct mail in the fear that in someway the mailing they have received is connected to the data loss. Or will they avoid buying online and giving personal information when normally this would not be an issue? The answer is yes. It is bound to be a problem; what we do not know is how big this problem will be.”

So what should remote sellers do to try to minimise the problem, other than to adhere to industry best practice regarding the safeguarding and transmission of data and to regularly test and review your processes throughout your business and your supply chain?

For one thing, says Chiger, “make sure your website prominently displays on its home page and throughout the site the logos of any third-party security schemes or certifications to which your company subscribes or that it has received.”

Also ensure that all call centre agents and other customer-facing employees fully understand your company’s security policies so that they can explain them to any customers who may ask. “In the case of call centre workers,” Chiger says, “you may want to provide them with a sample script that answers security-related questions.”

And if your company isn’t already compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), now may be the time to become so. Becoming compliant may even prove to be a competitive advantage in these days of heightened consumer awareness, so long as you post an explanation of what such compliance means.

For more on the possible effect of the governmental security breaches on the catalogue/e-commerce industry, see the cover story in the December issue of Catalogue/e-business magazine or go to www.catalog-biz.com.

For more information contact:
Sherry Chiger, editorial director, Catalogue/e-business
Tel: 01271 866221
Email: sherry@catalog-biz.com

About Catalogue/e-business:
Catalogue/e-business is the leading publication for offline and online cataloguers and multichannel retailers in the UK. In addition to the print magazine, the Catalogue/e-business family includes several annual supplements; a website, www.catalog-biz.com; and Insight, a free fortnightly enewsletter offering tactical advice and industry research.

Miri Thomas
+44(0)1271 866221