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Finally! Lack of Security = Loss of Business

By Mike Rothman

For years security folks have been frustrated when trying to show real revenue impact for security. We used the TJX branding issue for years, but it didn’t really impact their stock or business much at all. Heartland Payment Systems is probably stronger now because of their breach. You can check out all the breach databases, and it’s hard to see how security has really impacted businesses. Is it a pain in the butt? Absolutely. Does cleanup cost money? That’s clear.

But with the exception of CardSystems, business just don’t go away because of security issues. Or compliance issues for that matter. Which is why we continue to struggle to get budget for security projects.

DumpMaybe that’s changing a little with word that BT decided to dump Yahoo! Mail from its consumer offering because it’s a steaming pile of security FAIL. Could this be the dawn of a new age, where security matters? Where you don’t have to play state-sponsored hacking FUD games to get anything done. Could it be? Probably not.

This, folks, is likely to be another red herring for security folks to chase. Let’s consider the real impact to a company like Yahoo. Do they really care? I’m not sure – they lost the consumer email game a long ago. With all their efforts around mobile and innovation, consumer email just doesn’t look like a major focus, so the lack of new features and unwillingness to address security issues kind of make sense.

Sure, they will lose some traffic the captive BT portal offered as part of the service, but how material is that in light of Yahoo’s changing focus? Not enough to actually fix the security issues, which would likely require a fundamental rebuild/re-architecture of the email system. Yeah, not going to happen.

Anyone working for a technology company has probably lived through this movie before. You don’t want to outright kill a product, because some customers continue to send money, and it’s high-margin because you don’t need to invest in continued development. So is Marissa Meyer losing sleep over this latest security-oriented black eye? Yeah, probably not.

So where are we? Oh yeah, back to Square 1. Carry on.

Photo credit: “Dump” originally uploaded by Travis

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