After a discussion with the folks at Opnet Technologies last week, I thought of a triple-dog dare that would determine whether your company has an adequate backup plan in the event of a network outage or a security threat. Are you confident enough in your backup and redundancy plans that you'd tell your CEO that it's sufficient? Are you confident enough that you could go around the data center and randomly pull out cables to prove it works? Are you so secure that you'd be willing to do that during peak business hours? Does the thought make you cringe?
I'd love to offer up a dare to any business regarding customer-data security. Are you confident enough in your processes, policies, and technologies to say that customer data is safe? Are you confident enough to put it in your annual report? Are you confident enough to guarantee it to all of your customers? Anything less should make your customers cringe.
I'm glad to hear the financial industry is doing more to protect such data (see story, "Banks Batten Down"). It's not just their reputations at stake here. The future of online commerce also is at risk. But more important, the privacy of customers is at stake. The attackers, phishers, and scammers are getting more sophisticated and more devious. Efforts to protect customer data must keep pace, whatever the cost.