The 4th Floor's Podcast

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sony: How to Relieve Customer Concerns

It's been nearly a month since PSN went down, and in that time, there has been great concern over consumers information being stolen off the network.  While there isn't much that Sony can do to alleviate most of the damage that has been done to their image, there is a step that can be taken to assuage any lingering doubts in regards to the customers information, primarily their financial information.

Paypal is a great service, while it's not perfect they do offer plenty of services that can help the consumer identify potential fraud.  Their level of security does make them a target, however most times when a person's account it is because of spyware and site mimicking that allows a hacker to obtain the consumer's financial information. Netflix allows it's users to use Paypal as a payment source for their account, I've switched to this method for a myriad of different reasons.  All of which can be applied to Sony in their current situation.

Primarily, adding Paypal as a transaction source for PSN would require the potential hacker to hack your Paypal account rather than going after Sony and their servers.  This would make hacking your financial information from Sony problematic in two ways.  The first being, since most hacks of Paypal come from spyware and site mimicking, and PSN doesn't have any viruses as far as I know, it would mean that your information is secure if Sony is hacked.  It would also make it difficult for a hacker to record your keystrokes on your computer.  Secondly, it requires the hacker to follow two different sites.  Assuming that you aren't completely unaware of internet security risks, such as using the same password for multiple accounts, the hacker wouldn't be able to obtain just your PSN password and have access 
to your financial information.

Given that Sony doesn't require you to pay for basic service on PSN, there would be nearly no need for you to store any personal information on their network.  Even if you pay for PS+, you can use Paypal to monitor the transaction.  The only information you would need to give to Sony is an email address and your desired user name for PSN.  This eliminates any chance of Sony being hacked and your personal information to be leaked.

At this point, Sony's job is to show it's customers it's serious about protecting their information.  What I have proposed on paper sounds like admitting defeat, however at this point they must do something to show that they are a secure network.  Even if this entails giving customers the option to trust someone else.  I'm in no way suggesting that Sony only allow Paypal, but to say to the customer "We know we messed up, and we admit it could have been prevented.  We have taken necessary steps to protect our customers and understand the problem this has caused. We are now offering an extra step for those who wish to take it to protect themselves."

The business of today's video games with DLC and other online transactions being so prominent requires at this point for Sony to take a step in one direction or the other.  I don't think that merely saying that the problem has been fixed is going to persuade many people to trust them again.  This is merely an idea for them to consider to boost customer confidence, and attempt to relieve some of the customers concerns regarding their information. 

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