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March 08, 2007

Would you pick your restaurant by the security of your credit card data?

Was reading a good article by Jaikumar Vijayan today in ComputerWorld about the steps the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain is taking to better ensure the security of their customers credit card data.  I applaud what Ruby Tuesdays is doing, upgrading their POS systems to not store any credit data, eliminating middle men who represent another potential hole and using stronger encryption. 

All of this is good and I like their salad bar on top of it.  Then I read this quote, "This, in reality, is not helping us create more sales," Ibrahim said. "This is purely about the privacy and security of our customers".  This is from Nick Ibrahim, senior vice president and CTO at Ruby Tuesday. It seems that the only reason they are doing this is to comply with PCI regulations.  I know I have said in the past that security is good for business and if you run a secure operation, compliance will take care of itself.  However, that does not seem to be the case here.  Ruby Tuesday is flat out saying that putting in better security is not going to help put customers in the seats or increase sales. They are doing it for compliance sake alone. 

Is this logic faulty.  Would you be more likely to frequent Ruby Tuesday over say a Chili's, if you know your data is safer at one over the other?  I don't know if it has come to that yet, but if I were Ruby Tuesdays I think I would try to use my enhanced security as a reason to come here versus the other guy.  What do you think?  Would you consider the safety of your credit data in choosing a restaurant? Are you still shopping at TJX stores?  I wonder, am I being too much of a security freak?

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