Volley Back to Dave

I wanted to take a minute to respond to Dave Kearns' most recent newsletter.

First, our move to make all Sun enterprise software, including identity management, available through a no-cost download is potentially a market-changing move - as we put our identity products out there for prospective customers to try and use. My belief is that it's time for identity to become an inherent service on our networks and getting the software into the hands of users will help drive and speed adoption. This is good for Sun because as more and more people try our software, we believe they will ultimately buy from us. It's good for customers because this puts identity management solutions in their hands today so they can start figuring out how to best apply them. What do you think?

Now, onto identity theft. Here are some comments I made to Dave:

Reading your newsletter, I could draw the conclusion that Sun was trying to spur on fear with our survey and that was not at all the intent of our announcement. The conclusions we reached showed that consumers are doing smart things like changing and updating their passwords and are willing to take action if their personal information is mishandled. The buying power, and leaving power, is clearly with consumers. That's not fear, that's empowerment.

As my quote said in the press release:

"It's heartening to see that overall awareness of identity theft is quite high and that many Americans are taking basic steps to protect themselves," said Gates. "Consumers should continue to step up their vigilance in 2006 by only giving their Social Security Number to trusted parties and they should shred all discarded documents with personal data on them. However, companies also need to mitigate the threat of identity theft by taking all possible steps to ensure the security of their corporate data."

My mantra around identity & security is “accelerate without fear” and the last thing I would do is to promote something that drives fear. The Harris survey we did showed (in my opinion) that people are smart, they are paying attention and they are willing to move their business if their information is mishandled. That means companies, if they are to keep growing and gaining customer confidence, must take the necessary steps to protect access to private information and manage “who has access to what”.

Now I want to challenge you with something. Ask your friends what their thoughts are on identity theft. (And I do not mean the vast minority of the world that work in technology. I mean your neighbor, your cousin, your wife's best friend.) Ask them about their opinions on identity theft. I have had this conversation a lot lately with my (non tech) friends & family. Right or wrong, people believe they are more at risk for ID theft with online transactions than elsewhere. We're making progress but we still have education to do & companies still need to think more about the impact of identity on how they run their businesses.

Managing identities is something companies MUST do – Sun has just made it even easier.

Comments:

Sara:

A few years before the Soviet Union crumbled, I heard a speaker say that people in the Soviet Union were beginning to tell jokes about their leaders. The speaker prophetically proposed that fact as evidence that the demise of the USSR was immiment.

I think that when jokes are broadly told about any subject, it signals that the subject has risen to the top of popular consciousness. A couple of my recent blogs showing comics strip treatment of Identity Theft highlight that principle.

Mark

Posted by Mark Dixon on December 15, 2005 at 08:56 AM CST #

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