During the early 1990’s, a small but forward-thinking marketing firm turned customer data into a small fortune.  Music Marketing Network was founded and led by visionary entrepreneur Paul Chacko, who recognized very early that collecting customer data would be valuable, extremely valuable.

Chacko foresaw that marketing strategies were about to evolve and as companies migrated away from mass marketing efforts in favor of targeted marketing campaigns Chacko knew that he with the most data would be king.

Working together will the likes on MTV, Capital Records and others, Music Marketing Network created business response cards and other unique ways to collect consumer data.  Data entry clerks wearing their Sony Walkman would tirelessly enter information from MTV contest postcards into a massive data base of 14-20-year old’s, for hours on end.

The postcards included buying behavior information such as favorite color, brand, style, retailer, music, etc.  All in an attempt to capture more data and get to know the customer better.  Chacko started Music Marketing Network with a few thousand dollars and later sold the company for more than $50M.

Fast forward to today.  Thanks to the internet and our hyper reliance, companies are collecting unfathomable amounts of customer data and personal information, yet some organizations are doing a better job than others when it comes to securing that data.  Will this cause a “great divide” where those that make the appropriate adjustments survive while those that stood steadfast fall victim to a security breach?

IT leaders that inherited dated security infrastructures, like those that rely on passwords to protect online assets, are highly vulnerable to data breaches and internal fraud.  One compromised password can have a tremendous rippling effect on the entire organization.  Just like Paul Chacko, its time for IT leaders to recognize that the ground rules for gathering and protecting customer data have changed.   Because today, there are no “small” breaches.  Whether your next internal breach causes a lawsuit, loss in revenue, loss of customers, or damage to the brand, the fact remains in most cases these events could have been prevented with strong security.

You see for some, incorporating a solution such as fingerprint biometric authentication, is a bit like eating seafood for the first time.  Many of us were reluctant to try seafood as a youngster, yet at some point most of us gave it a try.  Well what happens next?  You’re a fan of shrimp and lobster!

Indeed, change is hard for all of us and I don’t envy today’s IT decision makers, because one wrong decision could cause the demise of the organization.  For many that decision might be “stay the course” which is somewhat of a non-decision, but might prove to be the costliest choice of all when the inevitable security breakdown occurs.

If I gave you a stack of gold, would you take special measures to secure it?  Customer data is gold!

Eventually the scoreboard for IT managers will be interpreted no different than every other scoreboard in business.  The visionary leaders will be recognized as such, the conservative followers will fill their role and the stuck in the mud group, those that feared change, will likely be exposed.  At BIO-key we prefer not to see such a division, therefore we launched our Safety First – Proof of Concept program.  This program allows organizations that have interest in the potential benefits of biometric authentication, but have been hesitant, a genuine opportunity to test the technology without putting themselves or the organization at risk. The SFPC program allows the IT department to test our biometric solutions outside of the company’s production environment, creating a safe haven to test the technology and put their toe (or finger in this case) in the water.  We provide a tactical support team that’s been trained to accommodate customers that are sensitive about participating in the proof of the technology.  Once we prove that we adapt successfully to your environment and provide benefits to the organization, we build a subtle step by step plan to strategically expand the deployment “without” disrupting the day to day operation.

If your organization is collecting customer data, you want to take every step to ensure that data is only accessed by authorized personnel.  Passwords aren’t enough, best practices call for multi-factor authentication.  At BIO-key we help organizations address today’s advanced security challenges and we do it all with the power of a touch.

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