By Laura Bruck in Partnering with EZShield
Trust (n.): a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
It’s a familiar concept that’s often underestimated. Trust is a catalyst for change and the foundation for strong relationships. It guides us in our daily lives, but most importantly, it dictates who we ask for help.
Poor stewards of personal data result in a lack of trust. Consumers must choose carefully the organization they entrust with their personal and financial information. While advanced security features are certainly powerful, they’re only part of the equation. Trust ultimately dictates who consumers stand behind.
In the wake of the Equifax data breach, this cornerstone of protection has never been more important. It’s been a testament to EZShield’s mission — to provide industry-leading identity protection through trusted partnerships. And while this unfortunate incident will undoubtedly shape the industry, it also makes the importance of being a trusted identity protection provider more powerful than ever.
The Equifax Data Breach
On Sept. 7, Equifax confirmed a major data breach impacting 143 million consumers. Names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, drivers’ licenses and addresses were among the compromised data.
In response, Equifax offered free credit and Social Security number monitoring to all U.S. consumers. These services are delivered through Trusted ID.
The complimentary protection has come under significant scrutiny — and for good reason. Trusted ID is an Equifax company. Many speculate their ability to protect information. After all, Equifax already lost the trust of those that were exposed in the breach.
While these services are free for one year — the personal data lost is exposed indefinitely. It will never be wiped from a hacker’s hard drive where it could live, scrubbed from the black-market sites where it could be traded, or erased from the memory of the fraudster who could use it to assume the victim’s identity.
This is not a foreign concept. With a new sensitive file leaked every second in data breaches, U.S. consumers are far too familiar with post-breach care. They’re tired of leapfrogging from free service to free service, they’re taking matters into their own hands to safeguard their good name.
Consumers Use Trust to Seek Post-Breach Assistance
Consumers understand this always-looming reality of exposed information. However, only one-third of consumers have ever accepted complimentary services, and only 8 percent of those have ever renewed this protection.
But if consumers are passing up free post-breach protection, how are they securing their identities? For the most part, they’re doing it themselves.
Per Javelin Strategy & Research, 52 percent of consumers are confident they can protect their financial data by taking appropriate precautions. But while they see themselves as their primary protector — they don’t want to go it alone. They look to their established relationships for assistance; 44 percent trust their primary financial institution to protect them from financial loss from an identity crime.
This was not the first big data breach and it certainly will not be the last. As a trusted provider, and steward of your customers personal and financial information, it’s up to you to drive the market change that is undoubtedly coming.
What Makes a Trusted Identity Protection Provider?
Trusted providers must step-in where breach solutions fall short. It’s a vital opportunity to capitalize on your own identity protection program — stepping up to expectations and further strengthening relationships. There are three keys to a truly trusted identity protection provider…
- Value Relationships
As consumers leverage existing trusted relationships, can those organizations unofficially elected to protect them meet expectations? After all, when an identity crime happens, you’re going to be the first one they call. It’s your responsibility to act as a hub of resources — doing whatever is necessary to protect them.
Your role will encompass new duties — including stay up-to-date with breach news, offering robust protection offerings and being a subject matter expert in the fight against identity crimes. Valuing relationships means being there when it counts. All in hopes of furthering consumer trust.
- Offer Comprehensive Protection
Establishing a truly robust identity protection program of your own is paramount to being a trusted provider. Your offerings must go above-and-beyond limited-time breach offerings and provide a wealth of benefits for you and those you’re responsible for protecting.
It shouldn’t be looked at as a loss or chore. The fact of the matter is, when you offer a lifetime of identity protection, you’ll find a customer for life. With far reaching benefits, a powerful program is always a good idea.
At EZShield we break down a comprehensive protection program into three facets, we call it Secure, Monitor, Restore. This process addresses identity crimes from every angle — empowering individuals with security tools and education resources, offering advanced monitoring for signs of data compromise and backing every program with world-class restoration services in times of need.
With the wealth of personal information that makes up our identities, this 360-degree approach is a key element of any world-class identity protection program.
- Focus on Empowering Consumers
Your customers are relying on you to give them information. A trusted provider focuses on empowering customers with need-to-know information so they can better protect themselves.
Deluxe’s partner EZShield has spearheaded this initiative following the Equifax data breach; offering numerous resources for our partners and users.
If you’d like to join the fight against identity crimes, you can partner with the industry-leader in identity protection. Our experts will work with you to understand your goals, select the right products and develop your program accordingly. These efforts are backed by EZShield’s world-class support, industry insights, and robust security.