Secure Technology Platform a Growing Concern for Promo Customers
Getting a lot of industry press these days are supply chain challenges, low inventory, labor issues, long lead times, and inflation—all of which are painstakingly real. A not-so-publicized challenge facing the industry is technology security that protects companies and customers.
Earlier this year, we heard about the Colonial Pipeline ransomware case that shut down East Coast gas production for days. Additionally, we have learned about organized crime and foreign intelligence agencies gaining access to company servers and stealing proprietary data. These types of breaches can have a devastating impact on customers and companies.
As the saying goes, "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Large and mid-size companies, in an effort to protect their operations (a la Colonial Pipeline) or their brand (a la Facebook), are increasingly doing business only with vendors (small or large) who don’t compromise their compliance to their security standards. As such, the increased scrutiny is being pushed down to their business partners now that the fines and the brand implications are material.
Accordingly, this year at Boundless we have seen a spike in customer requests to understand our technology security framework as a requirement to obtain their business. These customer requirements typically fall into four buckets:
1. System Hardening - Keeping bad actors from breaching your perimeter and having tripwires in place to alert you if anyone has gotten in and/or made changes. This is the primary defense against the ransomware crowd.
2. Access Control - This applies both to keeping bad guys out as well as making sure that authorized users can't exceed their intended access.
3. Information Protection – This one goes beyond PCI compliance for protecting credit card numbers. Companies are also concerned about "proprietary" information we get from our customers either related to individuals (customers, employees) or events (product launches) that need to be protected.
4. Business Continuity – From natural disasters to ransomware situations, having a plan to recover critical systems and make sure personnel can get back to work servicing customers is a paramount concern.
At Boundless, we have seen an increase in the level of scrutiny to which our clients are holding us accountable, and this scrutiny will only gain momentum over the next few years. In response, we continue to invest in platform security, hiring third parties to continuously test our firewall and achieving the necessary certifications to protect our customers and business. This is now a cornerstone of achieving new and existing customer trust.
Security threats are real, and not going away. Those in the industry that make the necessary investments will pick up market share and ultimately enjoy the financial benefits.
Pat is currently executive vice president of sales at Boundless. Prior to joining Boundless, Pat was vice president of sales for Toppers, a Top 20 industry supplier. Prior to Toppers, he served as vice president of national accounts for Norwood Promotional Products, one of the largest promotional products suppliers in the industry. In his free time, Pat enjoys drinking a cool beverage while attempting to play golf.