IBM Unveils Online Privacy Management Service

NEW YORK — IBM Corp. on Monday announced its entry into
the enterprise privacy management space, rolling out a new service gives
clients a simplified way of implementing privacy policies.

In partnership with privately held Watchfire, IBM said the new service
would offer page scans of millions of Web pages to identify broken links,
typographical errors and any other problem that could hurt a company’s
brand.

Targeted mostly to the financial services sector, Big Blue executives say
the Online Business Management Services offering would also provide
notifications and real-time monitoring of compliance with the range of
regulatory requirements related to privacy and security.

At a press briefing here, IBM’s chief privacy officer Harriet Pearson
said the new offering would help large-scale enterprises, particularly banks
that operate online, avoid the growing threat of identity theft.

As a customer of Watchfire, Person said IBM has found the service
extremely useful to monitor more than 3 million Web pages under management
globally. Even if Big Blue put together a staff of 1,000 to manually
monitor each Web page, it would not be able to do a thorough job, Pearson
explained.

The two companies also released the results of a survey of 242 financial
services companies and found that many fell short of complying with the most
basic regulatory requirements related to privacy and security.

Pearson explained that more than 65 percent of the largest financial
services companies have been collecting consumer data with no security
mechanisms in place to protect the information. This, she argued, hurts a
company’s brand in the area of consumer trust.

Using the Online Business Management software, IBM scanned a maximum of
3,000 links in each site and found that more than half of the 242 financial
services firms had at least one occurrence where they collected sensitive
personal information on a page that did not link to an online privacy
policy.

More worrying, according to the survey, 91 percent of the companies
studied supported less than the 128-bit SSL encryption when collecting
sensitive data. More than 60 percent of the companies had at least 25 pages
with broken links and about 80 percent had more than 100 slowly loading Web
pages.

Pearson said the monitoring software would be able to quickly provide
comprehensive reports of problems within a Web site to help enterprises run
a clean operation. In addition to Web page scanning, the Online Management
Service provides assessment scanning to identify and report on online brand
risks and cost issues.

An IBM spokesperson told internetnews.com the service was priced
between $15,000 and $30,000 for installation and implementation. The
assessment reports start at $40,000 and would be available as a managed
service for between $10,000 and $15,000 per month.

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