Friday, December 21, 2007

This isn’t a game …..

Articles like this highlight for me a recurring theme that I am sure both readers are getting a little weary of. Once again I find myself railing about the fact that major corporations sometimes don't seem to comprehend the commercial significance of initiating any sort of digital activity. In this case, a major US retail group has announced that a systemic security flaw in their online systems has allowed hackers to gain access to customer confidential information and payments data for something like eighteen months. It has been described in some articles as the "biggest hack ever!"

I won't go on for ages, but will quickly comment to state the obvious. Initiating digital channels should be something which is well planned, well architected, well funded and well tested. Any digital channel is a dynamic path to market which exists in an environment which is changing all the time. New technologies emerge, new hacking techniques get created and new risks to the business continue to emerge.

This is not something which you can afford to "set and forget," nor is it something you can afford to leave in the hands of anyone but an expert. The day you turn on your new online store, mobile portal, online campaign or customer self service system, you enter into a new commitment, a commitment which requires constant and dedicated focus. The risks emerge due to the nature of the medium. Any potential hacker, malcontent or miscreant has the advantage of time, anonymity and resources to plan, trial, test and execute their initiatives. I think many corporations fail to fully RESPECT these people; they are very smart, very experienced and very capable and managing the risks a well executed hack may present demands an appropriate plan which duly considers the capabilities of your foes.

As we go into the New Year, most corporations will be looking to kick of their latest digital initiatives and it is a time to think carefully about who you partner with to deliver these. Sure your ad agency might deliver some great campaign ideas and some cool creative, but do they REALLY understand and can they really manage the technical, operational and environmental risks, challenges and opportunities.

2008 is the year for getting even more serious about digital initiatives and it is the year to work with a specialist, dedicated, full-service digital services company.

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