Security ≠ Convenience

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December 20, 2012 // Technology

Article Written By: Mike Kroft| eBanking Services Manager | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

It’s that time of year again! We search the stores or online websites to find the perfect gift, at the perfect price. More than likely you don’t tell that special someone you found their gift really inexpensive online, or that you had to wait 2 weeks because it was shipping from abroad.  What you may not know is that the cost of buying something from an unknown website may end up costing you a lot more 6 to 12 months down the road.

We all seem to get frustrated when we are required to use passwords, answer login questions, or additional PIN’s. These extra steps are perceived as a time consuming process that slows us down from getting that really great deal online. What we often forget, is that those time consuming processes are meant to help us keep our information secure.

It wasn’t that long ago when personal computers were the only devices that accessed the internet. Most of us had one at home and one at our workplace. Today, we are trying to manage 4 or more devices, which we can use for shopping or checking our bank account balances. The rise of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, have certainly complicated the number of security obstacles that we all need to understand how to navigate.

Why is it that we tend to get frustrated about the online security obstacles, but we don’t get frustrated about having to lock our car doors?  It would certainly be easier if we never had to deal with car keys. I often lose mine and have to ask my wife where I left them. She knows how frustrating this is.

As we navigate the online world during this holiday season and beyond, we need to know upfront that security is an inconvenience in a convenient online world. If we can’t accept this, we will constantly be frustrated with security technologies.  So when you are creating that account on a website that has that perfect gift for that special someone, remember their online security does not equal convenience.

Some Tips:

Ask yourself if you have ever heard of this website before? Have you read the user feedback? If you have not, you may want to buy from another site that you are more familiar with. Often I find the price difference is minimal.

When you create your user account for the site that you are buying something from, don’t make the password the same as the one you use for every other website.  When creating your password include punctuation, upper and lowercase letters, and numbers. When you are ready to checkout and you are provided the convenient check box that says, ‘Remember my credit card number for future purchases’…Don’t check it!

Happy Holidays and have a safe holiday shopping experience!

Article Written By: Tina Van Valkenburg| VP-Human Resource Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

For 15 years, we have touted as part of our Mission Statement that “Our EMPLOYEES are our most valuable asset”.  It is one thing to say, but we take it further by showing them our appreciation in many ways!

Weekly, Gordon Oosting shares with the team a story that focuses on teamwork, highlighting employees who are appreciated for not only what they do but how they do it and how it impacts both customers and the organization.  It’s great to read these every week and see the wonderful connections between so many of our employees.

We ended the month of September with the ever popular Employee Appreciation Lunches, where Cal Murdock, one of our Board of Directors, cooks and serves up his special recipe burgers, brats and more to all of the employees.  This years’ event was hosted by Mark Oberlin (from The Oberlin Group of Raymond James & Associates), with a special visit by his musical group, Two Men and an Amp, at the Leonard event.  As always, these lunches give us a chance to relax a bit during the day while enjoying some great company and the thanks from the Executive Team.

It goes without saying, that a great company is defined by its great employees and to further celebrate that during our 15th year, we are having a 15th Anniversary Party for all of our employees, our Directors and guests in December.   We are all looking forward to an evening of reflection, celebration and appreciation!!