Security dealers take on identity theft

Identity theft prevention and recovery solutions are set to become a new RMR stream for dealers

What separates ID Medics from other recovery products is that it is fully managed, Castelli said. All the customer has to do is make a phone call to the company and a "recovery advocate" will handle the issue in question. Castelli said often times, companies will offer assisted recovery to customers, meaning that they will send them forms to fill out and walk them though the process, rather than having someone take care of the entire process for them.

"We saw (identity theft solutions) as a situation where people have trusted us to protect their property, their facilities for all these years with video security and other protective products... and we saw our (dealers') clients were not being offered anything from a security professional," he said. "Instead, they are having to trust some guy on a commercial or some other person selling the product that they have never done business with."

Neither the Ocenture nor ID Medics solution requires any additional infrastructure investment from the dealer since any issues pertaining to an actual theft of a customer's identity will be handled directly by the respective company and not the dealer.

Businesses may also look to security dealers for identity theft products as the enforcement of the FTC's Red Flags Rule goes into effect in January. The Red Flags Rule essentially holds some businesses and organizations responsible for the protection of their customers' sensitive data. According to the FTC's website, the Red Flags Rule requires that organizations "implement a written identity theft prevention program designed to detect the warning signs - or 'red flags' - of identity theft in their day-to-day operations."

The Dealer Perspective

Tim Daugherty, owner of Union Town, Ohio-based Total Control, which has partnered with Crest to offer ID Medics, said that identity theft solutions present an appealing RMR opportunity that many dealers would be hard pressed not to explore.

"As far as bundling (the ID Medics product) with what we offer, at the price point they have, there really is no hesitation," he said. "There's not even a financial impact compared with what (the customer) is going to spend on monthly monitoring anyway."

Though he says he envisions bundling ID Medics with monitoring contracts, Daugherty indicated that he's received a lot interest in it as a standalone product.

"The way that (the solution) is kind of evolving for us is as a standalone product. We formally rolled out a partnership with an IT company, who was using it as a part of their vault of products that they offer to customers for security of data and security of their businesses," he said. "The way we intend to market it by itself, however, is as part of the ongoing monthly monitoring of surveillance systems."

Not only do identity theft solutions help dealers generate new RMR streams, they also offer additional value to customers, according to Bill Graham, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Guardian.

"One of the things that we've been trying to do is look at how we can bring more value to what we offer to our customers," Graham said. "I addition to that, I think there is a natural tie-in. We like to think of ourselves as more than just physical security, providing (customers) with other types of security."

According to Graham, customers who sign up to receive monitoring services from Guardian and choose to have their monthly payment automatically deducted from their checking accounts will receive the base-level Ocenture identity theft solution for free. Customers will also be given the option to upgrade to a premium service that includes such features as password security and anti-virus protection for an additional charge.

Though they have to create some "back-end" support for the solution, such as creating efficient ways to transmit customer data and billing information, Graham said that most issues pertaining to the Ocenture product will be handled by the company itself and not by Guardian with the exception of providing some basic information.

Graham added that while some may see offering these identity theft solutions as just another way to create RMR, Guardian has a different perspective.

"Our thought process is we want to add value to the product that we offer, thereby enhancing the lifecycle of the customer. Our customers will maybe think twice before they decide to leave our service if we are providing more than just security monitoring."