STAMFORD, Conn., March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Affinion Security Center (ASC) announced today that its BreachShield Division, a leading provider of data breach response and identity theft protection services, has partnered with ICR, an international corporate communications and investor relations firm with a practice devoted to helping companies prepare for and manage data breach incidents. The partnership between ASC and ICR will provide companies who are preparing for or responding to a data breach with BreachShield's comprehensive logistics, disclosure, identity theft protection and customer care services, as well as ICR's strategic counsel and support in managing communication with all stakeholders, including employees, customers, partners, investors and the media.
The partnership between ASC and ICR comes at a critical time, as the number of breaches has risen sharply in recent years. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 662 data breaches reported in 2010, up more than 25% over the number of incidents in 2009. Data breaches often leak personal and financial data from customers, employees and others onto the internet, leaving individuals at risk for fraud and identity theft. Because breaches directly affect innocent individuals who have trusted a company with their information, companies suffering a breach are often faced with compliance issues, legal actions and public scrutiny during and after the breach, potentially damaging their brand and reputation. The partnership between ASC and ICR brings together an experienced team of breach response and public relations professionals to quickly and appropriately manage a breach, minimizing impact to the victims and the business.
"Over the past few years BreachShield has helped national and multi-national enterprises, including those in the retail, financial, healthcare and insurance industries effectively respond to data breaches, but while our solution fully addresses the compliance and customer service needs of our clients, we have found that many need further advice and counsel to remediate the perceptional repercussions of a breach," said Michael Morelli, Director of Affinion Security Center's BreachShield Division. "Our clients recognize the damage a breach can have on their reputation and business, so we are pleased to formalize a partnership with ICR to help effectively manage these public relations issues."
A unique benefit to the BreachShield and ICR partnership is that it will allow client companies access to comprehensive breach and communications services while they are still in the planning phase, in advance of a potential breach. Formalizing an integrated data breach plan that addresses how a company will respond to the affected parties, as well as to partners, investors and the media is one of the ways a company can quickly and proactively protect its brand against the negative effects of a breach.
"We are pleased to partner with ASC's BreachShield Division to help clients communicate effectively with their stakeholders following a potential breach," said Michael Fox, president of ICR's Corporate Communications practice. "Failure to respond properly, even if it is only a 'perceived failure', could cause significant damage to reputation and equity value. As breaches continue to rise at an alarming rate, we believe it is imperative for companies to have a comprehensive communications plan in place."
Members from both firms will be available at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC, from March 9 through March 11.
About Affinion Security Center
Affinion Security Center (ASC), a division of Stamford, Connecticut-based Affinion Group, is a global leader in providing identity protection and data security solutions to corporations and individuals. For over 35 years products within ASC have been powering many of the world's leading personal data protection solutions offered to consumers by local, national and multi-national enterprises in the financial sector. ASC currently protects over 10 million subscribers with services including IdentitySecure, PrivacyGuard, PC SafetyPlus and Hotline, and serves enterprise and government agencies with the data breach preparation and response tool, BreachShield. Affinion Security Center is part of the steering committee of the Identity Theft Prevention and Identity Management Standards Panel (IDSP). For more information please visit www.affinionsecuritycenter.com.
ICR is a leading financial communications firm specializing in investor relations, corporate communications, and crisis management. Established in 1998, ICR represents more than 270 companies and has significant industry expertise and relationships in retail, apparel, footwear, gaming, lodging, transportation, restaurants, software, IT infrastructure, telco, energy, aerospace & defense, real estate and REITs, biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and pharmaceutical services, and automotive parts & services. ICR maintains offices in Norwalk, Conn., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Beijing China and has been one of the industry's fastest growing consultancies over the past decade. www.icrinc.com
SOURCE Affinion Group