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Dec 8 / Erin Vader

Consumer Information

Written by Srikar Vemuri

Popular department store Nieman Marcus has recently appointed Sarah Hendrickson as their first chief information security officer. (Norton, 2014) This comes on the heels of an embarrassing data breach in January at which over 40 million customer credit cards were compromised. This is a very interesting response from the company and most likely aimed at easing customer concerns with online shopping at Nieman Marcus before the busiest shopping season of the year. It is however, a bold step and I expect other large corporations to follow suit. It will be interesting to see what the effect of making information security a serious priority will have on consumer shopping habits.

While large corporations such as Nieman Marcus often have large IT departments and budgets to maintain and secure their data, the appointment of a high level executive whose primary responsibility is to maintain the security of customer data on their website signifies a that large corporations are finally being forced to take this issue more seriously. Although research shows mixed results with the regards to consumer confidence in corporations after data breaches (Kapetansky, 2014), it is only logical to assume that in the long run if these breaches continue to happen consumers will lose confidence in the ability of large corporations to protect confidential information and may affect sales.

It will be interesting to see what high level executive tasked with protecting confidential consumer information can bring to table that a large corporation does not already have in place. It is safe to assume that a company with the resources of Niemen Marcus most likely has the ability to implement one of the best online security systems on the market in place so it is difficult to see what additional steps the next executive can take to protect confidential customer data.

Personally I believe that this move is mainly intended to restore customer confidence in the company and that at the current time very little can be done to stop these occasional breaches.  However this move signifies that companies such as Nieman Marcus realize the urgency of resolving this issue and are willing to invest in making confidential customer data secure. I feel that if other companies follow suit and pour their recourses into tackling this issue, innovation make occur that could potentially solve this issue long term. However, I feel the trend of online shopping and electronic financial transactions is here to stay regardless, and that while these breaches may dampen consumer enthusiasm, it will not stop this trend. I feel that society as whole is slowly learning to accept these security breaches of confidential data as part of everyday life and are beginning to consider them as minor inconveniences that are experienced by all.

Sources

Norton, S. (2014, September 24). Neiman Marcus Names First Chief Information Security Officer. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2014/11/10/neiman-marcus-names-first-chief-information-security-officer/

Kapetansky, G. (2014, September 25). Will data breaches scare away consumers? Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://fortune.com/2014/09/25/will-data-breaches-scare-away-consumers/