WARRENDALE, Pa. -- With increasing recurring revenue and stemming attrition both priorities for most installing security contractors, offering customers identity theft protection is shaping up as a new means of achieving long-established business model goals.
Leading the charge in the dealer channel is Guardian Protection Services, the first national alarm company to incorporate a comprehensive identity theft protection program into its portfolio. The Warrendale, Pa.-based privately held security company will do so in partnership with Ocenture, a provider of digital protection products and recovery services.
"This is a natural extension to what we provide on the physical security side, so it is predominantly a value-add," says Guardian's Bill Graham, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Guardian already enjoys a fairly significant retention rate of about 11 years, Graham says, but will look to its new identity theft program as a means of holding on to customers even longer.
"This type of product and service gives us the ability to be in front of our customer literally on a monthly basis," Graham says. "It gives us another way to endear ourselves to our customer and help with that long-term retention."
At press time, Guardian was aiming to launch the new service Sept. 1, making it available first to new clients. After a period of time, the company will go back to its existing subscriber base and offer the solution to them as well, Graham says.
Designed by Ocenture, Guardian's private-labeled service comprises three segments: prevention (anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, file encryption and electronic file shredding); detection (monitoring of more than 1,000 databases, looking for changes to a person's identity profile); and recovery (includes identity restoration services, plus $25,000 insurance policy to cover associated costs).
Guardian will offer a "basic level" service free of charge, which includes once per month identity monitoring of more than 650 billion data points. Each month the customer will receive a personal identity risk report via E-mail. Should any red flags arise, the customer can then phone a service center facilitated by Ocenture for further investigation and guidance.
An upgrade to the service for $7.95 per month includes hourly identity monitoring.
"The whole service is provisioned by us," says Ocenture CEO Adrian Sedlin. "The dealer gives us the enrollment information for the customer and then our service fulfillment process takes over."
Working mainly in the affinity marketing and banking verticals, Sedlin says his company profiled 40 industries in 2007 to decide where it would next tender its prepackaged protection programs, which include crime monitoring, sexual predator monitoring and more.
"When all was said and done the alarm industry won," says Sedlin. "Then we spent about a year-and-a-half developing new products and refining our existing product sets that we felt would be relevant to the security industry."
And what did Ocenture find compelling about the home security market? Namely, the established relationships security dealers have with customers and the opportunity for them to evolve into a "consumer security company."
"Identity theft is a huge problem that consumers are solving independent of their security company right now," Sedlin says. "They are turning to their bank or they are turning to freestanding identity protection companies."
Indeed, according to FBI statistics identity theft is the nation's fastest-growing crime, outpacing burglaries 5 to 1. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also reports "identity theft/fraud" is the fastest-growing category of complaints the agency receives.
"The Internet access point is the most unsecure point into the home," Sedlin says. "It's really a question of would you rather have someone else sell the solution to your customers or do you want to?"