Tuesday, 16 June 2009

View from the Tower

Today, the TowerGroup has suggested the financial services industry stands on the losing side of the battle to protect consumer data. TowerGroup analyst George Tubin believes that the majority of data within financial services institutions has been or will be compromised, because proper data protection measures continue to be overlooked. With Heartland, RBS WorldPlay, Checkfree and BNY Mellon Shareowner Services making headlines with major breaches in recent months, it all suggests the industry needs to make data protection a higher priority.

Consumer anger, embarrassing headlines and the threat of legislative involvement have not stopped data breaches in the financial services industry and nor could they, sadly. In this turbulent economy, the last thing the industry would say it needs is legislative action or another protection standard to contend with, but they should take the four months as a very serious wake-up call if they are to avoid these outcomes. These companies need to re-evaluate how they protect and store data. With each breach, mandatory legislation becomes moves a step closer. The irony is that, as we have seen with PCI-DSS, these standards bring more cost and headache than protection. The industry cannot afford this on many levels. Any financial services firm that is not evaluating their data protection measures with a forward-looking plan in place, therefore, brings the industry closer to a mandatory protection standard.

Paul Davie