Monday, January 14, 2008

Prudential - less than prudent with customer details

Prior to Christmas the UK's HM Revenue & Customs lost the personal details of millions of child benefit recipients, and the latest data management debacle by institutions that consumers entrust with their data is Prudential, which has been less than prudent with their wealthiest customers' personal records.

According to the latest reports, a box containing premium customer details, including cheques and other sensitive information, was found on a roadside near Reading Berskhire by a vehicle recovery driver.

Apparently the box fell to the side of the road when it was being transported from Prudential's offices in Reading to a "secure" facility in Essex. In this day and age with electronic data storage facilities, image scanning and remote backup of data available, it seems astonishing that personal customer information is still being transported in paper format in boxes.

Even if the box had not been lost on the side of the road, anyone transporting the information could have easily photocopied some of the sensitive documents and used them for fraudulent purposes.

It begs the question, why are government departments and financial service providers opting for the least expensive and less safe option when it comes to protecting customers' personal data? There are really no excuses for these organisations who we entrust with our personal information to be reliant on such antiquated systems when it comes to data storage and protection. What is it going to take for these organisations to take data protection more seriously?

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