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Ensuring Consumer Privacy and Security Online

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 18, 2007

Forrester Research reports that 86% of consumers are worried about giving information to marketers because of privacy and security concerns. It is also estimated that half of North American households look for privacy and security policy information on Web sites. Most often, consumers buy solely from sites with the best policies. Obtaining the right credentials can minimize consumer fears and differentiate online brands and companies.

Marketing departments must embrace security and privacy practices as a way to build relationships with consumers on the Web. Telling consumers that personal information is protected gives reassurance and proving protection gives credibility. Third-party certification seals show consumers that companies take security and privacy very seriously, in turn providing an incentive to do business with that organization.

Some industry certification seals include:

• Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard informs consumers that best practices are employed to protect stored, processed, and transmitted credit-card data.
• TRUSTe®. Joining an independent, nonprofit organization alerts consumers that a company’s Web site and e-mail practices are certified and monitored to protect personal information.

• Verisign. Certification assures consumers that e-commerce and communications conducted over a company’s Web site, intranet, or extranet are protected with secure socket layer (SSL) encryption.

No one can guarantee online privacy or safety. However, implementing industry best practices, policies, and procedures can minimize risks. Communicating with your clients about the security surrounding their personal information can increase their peace of mind and start them on the way to becoming loyal customers.

Gary Cacace

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