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Zirx: Parking Perks, Data Privacy that Works

Zirx: Parking Perks, Data Privacy that Works

There's a new app that makes parking easier, but will it be secure? Find out how Zirx has been able to market its app and answer concerns about data security.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015/Categories: cyber-security

Zirx is a new parking app that aims to offer an Uber-like experience for consumers, but without all the creepy big-brother data security problems.

The Washington Post explains how the app works: Zirx offers a service that connects consumers to valets who will park their car. Say you're driving to work and aim to arrive at your office at 9:00 a.m. You can schedule a valet to meet you at your office door, take your keys, and park your car. Likewise, at the end of the day, you can have the valet meet you out front with your car.

With Zirx, drivers don't have to circle the block looking for increasingly scarce parking spots or park in a garage blocks away. In addition, Zirx valets will wash and refuel you car (for an additional fee).

Zirx is really interesting because the company is touting its data security policy. In fact, it's one of the app's selling points. IT professionals have to face more questions from clients about data security, so it's helpful to look at how other businesses are marketing infosec. Let's see what you can learn from Zirx's marketing strategy.

Zirx Execs Do Their InfoSec Homework

Before handing their car keys to a stranger on the street, consumers have plenty of concerns about security. So Zirx execs knew they'd have to offer a secure product from the get-go if they wanted their service to catch on.

In addition to having a dynamite insurance policy and requiring thorough background checks for all valets, Zirx did something that more mobile apps need to consider: make sure its app is secure and strictly limits the access its employees have to customer data.

After the Uber security debacle, Zirx executives wanted to dispel any concerns about data privacy. That strategy makes a lot of sense when you consider all the information Zirx has about its customers, including:

  • The locations, model, and make of unattended cars.
  • Payment info.
  • Private information that would allow cyber criminals to figure out where someone works and lives and their daily habits.

Welcome to big data liability. And welcome to data security marketing.

Zirx Goes Berserk for Data Security Marketing

With companies like Zirx storing information that would reveal enough to make their customers squeamish, the company has been preemptively touting its data security policy, which includes:

  • Limiting data access, so only admins can see private information about customers.
  • Prohibiting Zirx valets from disclosing where cars are parked (to keep locations of garages secure).
  • Disclosing its data collection services in a clear privacy policy (see TechInsurance's free privacy policy template).

These types of actions allow you to market your business as secure and transparent, and they prevent mishaps from happening within your business's walls. Uber got into to trouble when an executive was able to access location data to track a reporter who had been critical of the company. (See our write-up in "Uber Hiring Cyber Expert to Examine its Data Privacy.") While Uber has been able to weather the PR storm, new companies that enter the market now have to answer scores of questions about data security.

The thing to learn from Zirx's example is that you should have an answer to data security questions ready from the beginning. Whether you're a mobile developer or IT consultant, your clients want reassurance about their security. Don't shy away from touting your approach to security, and be prepared for more questions from clients concerned about their data.

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