IBM's Global Services business has launched a privacy consulting service, aimed at large ecommerce enterprises that want to share information with business partners, customers and employees.
The scheme includes workshops with Big Blue consultants to identify what privacy strategies and implementation services may be needed, but it is not cheap, costing $15,000 for two to three days with a consultant.
An IBM spokesperson said: "When you go on the Web, you are visible. Sites collect information about you and consumers don't feel comfortable with this. Companies have got to make sure they tell their customers that they can be trusted with that information."
First, organisations must look at their own internal practices when creating privacy policies.
The spokesperson explained: "Are employees writing their passwords on sticky notes stuck to their computers, are they able to use their colleagues' computers, do they change their passwords regularly? These business behaviours have to be addressed - it's more about internal policies and procedures."
As a result, some of the issues that IBM consultants discuss with customers include how information is gathered, the type of data collected, how it is stored, and how to communicate privacy policies to employees, customers and business partners. Help is also provided to decipher how data protection laws, particularly in Europe, affect global businesses.
And analysts believe the service will enable organisations to create efficiencies elsewhere in their organisations.
Ellen Carney, an analyst at Dataquest, said: "The fact that IBM has institutionalised its privacy intellectual capital into a tool means that it can identify both the hard costs such as new systems and upgrades, but also the soft costs that most potential customers didn't even consider."
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