Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Your service provider has your reputation in its hands

Once again, a very vivid reminder that service providers often have your corporate reputation in their hands. Siliconvalley.com is reporting on an indicident in which computers were stolen from a "solution provider", containing sensitive personal information of the customers of the bank that outsourced the services:

Stolen computers have Wells Fargo customer data:

"NEW YORK (AP) - Thousands of Wells Fargo & Co. mortgage and student-loan customers may be at risk for identity theft after four computers were stolen last month from a vendor that prints loan statements.

The computers were taken from the Atlanta office of Regulus Integrated Solutions LLC contained customer names, addresses, and social security and account numbers."

Any company considering outsourcing services that will involve the transfer of personal information must carry out full due diligence to make sure they know what they are getting into. There can be a lot of finger-pointing in the courts, but as far as consumers are concerned, it will be their bank, their phone company, their credit card company, not some nameless service provider, who dropped the ball.

Under the Canadian federal privacy law, PIPEDA, every organization that collects, uses and discloses personal information is responsible for securing personal information against accidental leaks. This responsibility follows the data and the original collector must ensure that any service providers have adequate safeguards.

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