Data Security and You: There’s Got to Be a Better Way

April 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm 1 comment

A non-rant rant on data security.

By Mary Ludloff

Have you ever had one of those days when you throw up your hands and simply say, “There’s got to be a better way!” Well, this is one of those days. Recently, Jenn Webb, in an O’Reilly Radar piece, asked the following:

“How much convenience are you willing to give up for security?”

Webb was talking about Google’s 2-step verification process (I remembered reading about this a couple of months ago) which essentially “jumps” the user through a number of “hoops” to ensure more secure access to Google applications. I ended my comment on the article with the following: “Google, could you have made this any more difficult for people operating in the real world to use?” And once I clicked Submit, I thought I was done. Nope. The more I thought about this, the more I felt a rant coming on. I mean, really, how hard is it for companies like Google (and many others) to come up with a user-friendly way to ensure secure access? They certainly have the money to do it and by all accounts, they definitely have the engineering talent to do it. So what’s the problem?

Let me step back for just a moment. In the age of multiple personal devices, where we access our applications, pays bills, buy stuff, you name it, from anywhere at any time, data security (along with its cousin, data privacy) is the penultimate issue of the day. If I haven’t convinced you yet, chew on this:

“In 2015, shoppers around the world are expected to spend about $119 billion on goods and services bought via mobile phones, which will represent about 8 percent of the total projected ecommerce market, according to ABI Research. These numbers show that mobile commerce, specifically shopping via the mobile Web, is reaching critical mass.”

Now I have posted previously about data security generally and about data security and mobile phones specifically but I have to say that when I write about this topic I find myself wondering how anyone outside of the high-tech industry can keep any of this straight. Full disclosure: I have a hard time keeping up on the latest issues and how I, as a consumer, need to address them. Really.

Look, I know that technically speaking, data security is hard. So what? Customer relationship management is hard, demand forecasting is hard, retail analytics is hard, real-time logistics is hard, cold chain management is hard, multivariate analysis is hard, life is hard.  In my perfect world, data security should be easy because if it’s not, consumers (and I include myself) will find themselves in a world of financial, medical, or personal “hurt.” Let’s face it: if the process is complicated and byzantine, consumers will not adopt it.

So why don’t all you companies who have a stake in the data security issue (like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, you know who you are) get together and come up with a standard solution as opposed to each of you coming up with your own unique solution to drive the rest of us crazy. And if I were the product marketing manager working on this, these would be my user requirements:

  • Be simple.
  • Be standard (this is a case where one size really should fit all).
  • Be secure.

There. I feel so much better now.

Entry filed under: Data, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , .

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